Tuesday

18th Sep 2018

EU leaders must stand up to Trump, say MEPs

MEPs urged EU leaders to stand up to US president Donald Trump and defend European values on Wednesday (1 February) amid concerns over the travel ban to the US for refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Several MEPs also called for the EU council and commission to reject the favourite to become US ambassador to the bloc, Ted Malloch. He has said in recent interviews that the euro could collapse soon, and that the EU "needs a little taming", seemingly comparing it to the Soviet Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

MEPs stressed the importance of EU-US relations, and an openness to working with the new US administration, but also called on EU leaders meeting in Malta on Friday to unite against those who want to divide and weaken the EU.

"The US is our closest ally. But Donald Trump wants Europe to be split and weak. So does Russian President Vladimir Putin," Manfred Weber leader of the centre-right European People's Party group said in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

"This is why we need to show them that we are united and strong and that Europeans are standing up for their values."

Gianni Pittella, leader of the Socialist group, called the Trump's travel ban an attack on the rule of law.

He labelled claims that the policy was aimed at border management or fighting terrorism "a populist lie".

Both said they would object to a US ambassador who "wants to destroy" the bloc, although the EP does not have a role in accrediting ambassadors.

Let's not forget the voter

Syed Kamall, leader of the conservative group of MEPs, said the travel ban was arbitrary and played into the hands of extremists.

"Sending a message that there is some inherent contradiction between being a good Muslim and a good citizens of a Western democracy plays into the arms extremist groups like Daesh [ISIS], who make the exactly the same claim when they recruit disillusioned people as terrorists," he warned.

But he also warned his fellow MEPs not to overlook the causes of disillusionment with the status quo.

"Every time a mainstream politician dismisses those who disagree with the current direction of political travel, dismisses them as racist or populist, they simply display an inability to offer a credible alternative," he said.

'He's lying to you'

There was one voice of unequivocal support for Donald Trump and his travel ban - it came from former Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

He told MEPs they were only upset because in the US they see a real democracy in action.

"A genuinely elected democrat is doing what he was elected to do," Farage argued, saying that former US president Barack Obama has also banned Iraqis from entering the US for six months and nobody protested.

"Trump is motivated by protecting the US from Islamic terrorism, while you have welcomed these people into your own homes," Farage told MEPs amid shouts and boos.

Labour MEP Seb Dance, sitting behind Farage, held up a sign during the former UKIP leader's speech, saying "He is lying to you", until an usher asked him to put down the sign.

In a statement later, Dance said he held up the sign because that was the only way to protest against Farage's speech.

"Mainstream politics must be more willing to challenge the nationalists and the populists. They pretend to stand up for people who are suffering but their diet of hate, division and suspicion creates only misery and poverty," he said.

"It’s time to stop the nuanced language: They’re liars."

UKIP’s Bill Etheridge has filed a complaint to EP president Antonio Tajani over the incident.

According to the complaint seen by this website, Etheridge said Dance's sign was making a "defamatory personal remark".

“The officials failed to remove him until the end of the speech and when I raised the matter it was not treated with sufficient seriousness by the acting chair," he wrote.

EU head calls Trump a 'threat' to Europe

Donald Tusk, the symbolic head of the EU, has described US president Donald Trump as a “threat” to Europe alongside Russia and China.

Wannabe US envoy calls EU a 'failure'

Malloch, who wants to be Trump's envoy to Brussels, said EU should become a trade bloc of strong nation states to win US support.

News in Brief

  1. EU investigating BMW, Daimler and VW 'collusion'
  2. Spain wants special Gibraltar chapter in Brexit deal
  3. Italy cancels Vienna talks over South Tyrol 'dual citizenship'
  4. Britain will not accept Brexit deal with Irish Sea border
  5. Slovakia seeks witness to journalist killing
  6. Finland's Stubb considers running for EU commission job
  7. Romania ponders anti same-sex marriage referendum
  8. EU lawyers back Slovenia in Croatia border dispute

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  2. New book: Why war is coming
  3. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  4. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful
  5. 10 years after Lehman Brothers what has changed for EU consumers?
  6. Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president
  7. Is Russia blackmailing the Council of Europe?
  8. First containership goes north of Russia from Asia to Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  4. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  5. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  8. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  10. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  12. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us