European Council President Donald Tusk says Donald Trump like Russia’s Putin, China and radical Islam now poses a threat to the European Union.
The conservative former premier of Poland said this in a letter to EU national leaders few days to the Malta summit where they will debate relations with the United States.
The summit which begins on Friday will also discuss the future of the Union as Britain prepares to leave.
In vivid language that reflects deep concern in Europe at the new U.S. president’s support for Brexit, as well as his ban on refugees and people from several Muslim countries, Tusk called on Europeans to rally against eurosceptic nationalists at home and take “spectacular steps” to deepen the continent’s integration.
Saying the EU faced the biggest challenges of its 60-year history, Tusk named an “assertive China”, “Russia’s aggressive policy” towards its neighbours and “radical Islam” fuelling anarchy in the Middle East and Africa as key external threats.
These, “as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration, all make our future highly unpredictable,” he said.
Laying out issues leaders may address in a 60th anniversary declaration at Rome in March, Tusk said the EU unity built after World War Two and the Cold War was needed “to avoid another historic catastrophe”. He also said Americans should not weaken Transatlantic ties fundamental to “global order and peace”.
“The disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China,” Tusk wrote to the EU leaders. “Only together can we be fully independent.”
CAUTION TEMPERS DISMAY
Senior officials discussed a possible EU response to Trump at a meeting in Brussels on Monday where some governments stressed that Europeans should not be hasty to alienate a key ally, diplomats said.
“We don’t want to get fired,” one senior EU diplomat said in reference to Trump’s reality TV catchphrase.
Another said that because the full U.S. administration was not yet in place, Europeans should be cautious: “No government in Europe can respond in a coherent manner to this series of orders and tweets,” the diplomat said.
Yet after 11 days in office, Trump and his aides have stirred concern in Europe due to their doubts about NATO and countering Russia in Ukraine, as well as over free trade. The Socialist finance minister of France, a nation long sceptical of U.S. market economics, said on Tuesday Washington seemed set on protectionism that was a “grave risk to the world trade order”.