Europe is preparing for a somber scenario with the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House.
European Council President Donald Tusk defines the change in Washington as an external threat facing the EU.
Along with Chinese assertiveness, Russian aggressiveness and radical Islamism, the representative of European heads of state and government cites “the disturbing statements of the new American administration” in a letter addressed to the twenty-eight member-States.
Tusk adds: “Particularly the change in Washington puts the EU in a difficult situation. It seems that the new Administration is questioning the last 70 years of American foreign policy. ”
After several days of verbal prudence, Europe assumes that Trump will not be a president like others that have come before him.
Tusk’s words represent the most energetic position expressed so far in Brussels and serve as a prelude to a wider discussion that the heads of state and government will hold next Friday at a summit they will hold in Malta.
In order to promote the mobilisation of leaders, the Council leader lists three threats to the community project: the “new geopolitical situation in the world”, where he frames the American situation, the “nationalist and increasingly xenophobic sentiment” that nests within Europe and the “loss of faith in political integration” that pro-European elites have. In response to these impulses, Tusk urges the “defense of the dignity of a united Europe”.
In spite of the climate so little fertile for the diplomatic work that the United States offers today, Brussels wants to establish direct contact as soon as possible.
The high representative for the European Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini, wants to set an appointment with the new Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in the next few weeks.
The first opportunity is presented between February 17 and 19 in Munich on the occasion of the Security Conference that brings together leaders from around the world every year. Tillerson has not yet been confirmed as a Secretary of State, so he has not confirmed his attendance.
Beyond the incipient calls for political attention, a report from the European Parliament warns at length of everything that community leaders have so far avoided saying in public: that the EU faces “serious consequences” for its security, particularly a greater risk of terrorist attacks because of the positions held by the new US government.
Because the predictable anti-Americanism that can occur in the Muslim world behind Trump’s raids, it all can translate into a greater rejection of everything Western, also the EU as part of that world, the EU text says.
“Imagining the worst is easy because never in modern history of the United States has there been a president with less qualification, experience or a personality so controversial,” notes the document, prepared by the Directorate General for Foreign Policy and dated January 17, just three days before the new American leader took office.
The text, analyses the effects of Trump’s victory on the close relationship between the EU and the United States, its main foreign partner. Security policy is one of the most threatened, the paper states.
Although the European Parliament does not expect any short-term changes in counter-terrorism cooperation, the President’s statements on the use of torture, his position on surveillance and some of his appointments “could lead to renewed transatlantic tension.”
The most risky move is the US turn towards Russia. The document augurs that Washington will stop talking about NATO’s expansion to the East – much criticized by Moscow – which sees it as an intrusion into its area of influence and even that the US could end its wide military deployment on the eastern flank of the EU.
Another of the consequences of this approach towards the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, affects the Syrian war. A resurgence of that conflict would cause “a worsening refugee flow” to Europe, the study predicts.
Parliament’s document warns of a possible US attempt to divide the EU by trying to forge bilateral links with some of its partners and urges to resist that strategy.
A first clue of this risk was already been given by the US president as British Prime Minister, Theresa May, visited him at the White House last Friday. While at the White House, both leaders praised the UK’s exit from the EU.