EU-US Trade War Intensifies
After France, it’s Germany’s turn to launch (verbal) attacks on the White House, as the trade war between the European Union (EU) and the US takes a new turn.
Soon after US President Donald Trump referred to the EU as a ‘foe’ with regard to trade, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas fired a salvo, saying that Europe could not fully rely on Washington. On Monday, the German minister also said that the 28-member European bloc should ‘readjust‘ its partnership with the US in order to safeguard its interests. According to Mass, the EU member-states will have to align themselves more closely (in Europe) to counter the US’ aggression.
Mass strongly criticised President Trump for saying that Germany was ‘totally controlled’ by Russia, insisting that Washington was trying to divide Europe in an attempt to enjoy (trade) benefits. Speaking at a media conference in Berlin, he said that Europe should “not let itself be divided” at any cost.
On Sunday, President Trump expressed serious concern over his country’s deteriorating trade ties with the EU. “Well, I think we have a lot of foes … Now, you wouldn’t think of the EU, but they’re a foe,” stressed the president. He immediately toned-down his statement, saying that the EU has “really taken advantage of us on trade”, although it “does not mean that they are bad“. Trump further called Russia and China foes, adding: “It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”
However, Berlin reacted sharply to his remarks, with Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth (too) accusing Trump of “provoking” the European nations to fight against each other. Roth appealed for unity, saying: “He is trying to bring about a split in the EU. He is describing us as enemies. We do not see it like that at all.”
The European affairs minister believes that it will never be possible for the US president to unsettle the continent by issuing “aggressive, untruthful and not particularly constructive” statements. He expressed hope that “clear language and a clear united position” would help the European nation stay united.
Even British Prime Minister Theresa May backed the German ministers’ view that the US was trying to divide Europe, as she revealed that President Trump had advised her to sue the EU, instead of negotiating Brexit with the bloc.
Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk tried to ease the tension, saying that the EU and the US are “best friends“. “Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news,” added the former Polish prime minister. According to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, even the Americans have rejected President Trump’s recent comments about Europe. “We have very clear in mind who our friends are: the US for sure. A change in the administration doesn’t change the friendship between countries and peoples,” she said.
It is to be noted that the US president has been feuding with European leaders in recent weeks. Interestingly, he slammed Germany for being “captive” to Moscow ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (in Helsinki on Monday). However, he made no comments on his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium against the EU and other allies. As the US is also involved in trade war against China, experts believe that the current scenario will certainly bring Europe and China closer. And the Europe -China co-operation will certainly pose a serious threat to the US. Now, Europe needs to save itself from the US.
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