21st Mar 2018

EU to Trump: Defend Western values, not your interests

  • "What gives our cooperation and friendship its deepest meaning are fundamental Western values," said EU Council chief Tusk (l) after meeting Trump (r) (Photo: Consilium)

The EU and the US should defend common Western values rather than their own interests, European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday (25 May) after meeting US president Donald Trump in Brussels.

"What gives our cooperation and friendship its deepest meaning are fundamental Western values, like freedom, human rights and respect for human dignity," Tusk said after the meeting.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The greatest task today is the consolidation of the whole free world around those values, and not just interests."

Tusk hosted Trump in the European Council building under high security, with only a handful of journalists allowed and no press conference.

Their meeting lasted more than the planned hour. It took place with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. European Parliament president Antonio Tajani and the EU foreign service chief Federica Mogherini also joined at one point.

It was Trump's first personal contact with the leaders of the EU institutions since he was elected last November.

The meeting took place in a "friendly and constructive atmosphere," according to EU sources. But it did not appear to bridge the gap between the EU and a US president who has expressed support for anti-EU political forces as well as sympathy for Russia.

The EU and US leaders talked about foreign policy, security, climate change, trade and Brexit.

"My feeling is that we agreed on many areas," Tusk said, but he admitted that "some issues remain open, like climate and trade".

EU leaders, some of whom will also meet Trump at a G7 summit in Sicily on Friday and Saturday, had wanted to convince Trump to confirm US participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit CO2 emissions and global warming.

But US officials have warned that the US position on climate, which the Trump administration is reviewing, will be decided later down the line.

After the failure of negotiations on a EU-US trade deal and calls for more protectionism by the Trump administration, the EU side said on Thursday that the EU and US "can work together in multilateral forums and look into the potential of bilateral trade relations".

During the meeting, the EU and US leaders said they supported the idea of a working group on "difficult" trade issues. They also said they would work with other countries on unfair trade practices.

Three days after the Manchester terrorist attack, Trump and the top EU officials agreed to step up the fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

The issue is also high on the agenda of a Nato summit in Brussels on later the same day.

On Russia, an issue where Trump's alleged Russian links raised concerns about his commitment to EU and US sanctions, Tusk said that he was "not 100 percent sure" that he shared "a common opinion" with the US president.

He said that on Ukraine, where the EU has tied sanctions to Russia’s compliance with the so called Minsk ceasefire pact, Tusk said "it seems that we were on the same line".

EU humour

Trump's visit to the EU institutions was expected to end badly after he had said that Brexit was a “great thing” and issued other anti-EU jibes.

According to sources, Trump instead expressed his concern that jobs in the US would be lost because of Brexit.

Trump, who is said to have little interest in detailed policy files, also got a glimpse of EU humour during a public handshake with Tusk and Juncker.

"There are two presidents in the EU," Tusk told him while they were being photographed.

"I know," Trump replied.

"He's the one too much," Juncker added, pointing at Tusk.

Trump expected to make Nato pledge

Nato mutual defence and the fight against Islamic State to take centre stage as US leader meets Nato and EU allies in Brussels.

Trump delays climate decision

The White House said it would take more time to decide if the US should remain part of the Paris climate agreement, while talks are underway in Bonn.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

Nato head defends 'blunt' US leader

Nato chief Stoltenberg defended Trump’s behaviour at Thursday’s summit. The prime minister of Montenegro also apologised for him.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  2. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  3. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  4. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  5. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks
  6. EU to unveil 3% tax on digital giants
  7. German elected S&D leader in European Parliament
  8. Germany: nearly €350m child benefit goes abroad

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  2. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  3. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework
  4. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  5. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  6. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  7. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  8. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  11. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections