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Defiant EU nations ready themselves for Trump presidency

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, left, talks with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during an EU foreign ministers meeting at the EU Council in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

BRUSSELS >> European Union nations bracing for the looming Donald Trump presidency showed defiance Monday in the face of the president-elect’s stinging comments on everything from NATO and German cars to the crumbling of the EU itself.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the U.S. president-elect’s view that NATO was obsolete and his criticism that European allied members aren’t paying their fair share had “caused astonishment.”

Trump also said Britain’s decision to leave the 28-nation European Union would “end up being a great thing,” and he predicted that other countries would also leave.

At a meeting of EU ministers, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the best response to such comments was simple — “it is the unity of the Europeans.”

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted: “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands.”

“I’m personally going to wait until the American president takes office, and then we will naturally work with him on all levels,” she told reporters.

French President Francois Hollande was even more outspoken in his defiance.

Europe “has no need for outside advice to tell it what to do,” Hollande said at a ceremony for outgoing U.S. ambassador in Paris Jane Hartley.

“Europe will always be willing to pursue trans-Atlantic cooperation, but it will base its decisions on its interests and its values,” he added.

Some EU officials fear Trump’s frequent, often acerbic Twitter postings might be the prelude to a caustic presidency after Friday’s inauguration.

“We are going to move away from, I guess, a kind of Twitter diplomacy, and then into a reality,” said Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, adding that reality could be “perhaps more difficult than what is going on on Twitter.”

EU foreign ministers were already worried what Trump might do beyond their continent. They came out against any plan by Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and warned that it could ratchet up tensions with the Arab world.

“It is very important for us all to refrain from unilateral actions,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. “We hope that there can be reflection on consequences of any move that is taken,” she said.

Although Trump had made similar statements about NATO during his election campaign, his recent comments still came as a bit of a surprise since his choice for defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, stressed his support for the NATO military alliance in his U.S. congressional confirmation hearing last week.

Trump’s views, in an interview published Monday with German daily Bild and The Times of London, contradict Mattis, Steinmeier said.

“If one compares the positions of the designated president and the future foreign and defense ministers, then one can’t discern a common foreign policy line among the new U.S. government,” he said.

There have even been fears the U.S. military commitment to Europe would wane under Trump. A German newspaper group reports that Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has urged Trump to continue meeting the U.S.’s financial obligations toward the alliance.

“Since World War II, the presence of U.S. troops has been a prerequisite for rebuilding the continent, safeguarding peace and ensuring security,” she told the RND network of some 30 German papers.

“We expect continuity from the new U.S. administration. Trump must maintain this leadership role, to ensure security, stability and peace,” she was quoted as saying.

Trump indicated he was indifferent to whether the EU stays together or not, a sharp break from the Obama administration, which encouraged British people to vote to remain in the EU in the June referendum.

“I believe others will leave … I do think keeping it together is not gonna be as easy as a lot of people think,” Trump said in the interview.

The British exit from the EU would “end up being a great thing,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it’s “very good news that the United States of America wants to do a good free trade deal with us and wants to do it very fast.”

Trump was less kind to German industry officials, saying car manufacturers including BMW could face tariffs of up to 35 percent if they set up plants in Mexico instead of in the U.S. and try to export the cars to the U.S.

Such tariffs would make the American auto industry “worse, weaker and more expensive,” Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economy minister, told Bild.

Gabriel suggested Europeans should exhibit more self-confidence in dealing with Trump. “We’re not weak and inferior,” he said.

Whatever his goal, Trump’s comments were strong enough to make him the talk of the town in European capitals.

“It is clear that we are discussing this issue all the time,” Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said at the EU meeting in Brussels.

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  • Lol, this amateur clown is saying to EU division is best for you. Then makes a speech here that “unity” is part of healing. He will bring the USA together but ask EU and NATO to be divided? Lol, Putin $ Puppet is Poopin on the People. #PPPP

  • Trump is also suggesting that NATO be disbanded. What could possibly be better for Mr. Putin than that? Mr Trump is working hard to serve Mr. Putin – a murderous dictator.

    Trump is obviously unfit to serve, and has the temperament of a spoiled child. He is a national disgrace.

    • My reading comprehension may not be as good as yours but I read nothing that implies “NATO be disbanded”. Is that another MSM “interpretation” of Trump words?

      • I don’t know what you mean by MSM. Is that some reference to media who tell the truth?

        Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn’t see the need for NATO – just like Mr. Putin says. Surprise!

        • Here it is in it’s entirety: “N.A.T.O is obsolete and must be changed to additionally focus on terrorism as well as some of the things it is currently focused on!”

          You still think the Main Stream Media (MSM) is interprets Trump correctly? I for one like his tweets as opposed to the MSM’s manipulation of his words.

        • Windward_Side – I think people that criticize the “main stream media” (whatever that means in your mind) tend to be poorly educated, gullible and ignorant. They avoid news because it contains inconvenient truths that they don’t want to hear.

          Ignorance is bliss.

        • Windward, Trump has stumbled on a legitimate concern regarding NATO. I’ve read that only 4 or 5 of the 28 members contribute the mandated 2% of their respective GDP’s, resulting in the US in 2016 covering roughly a quarter of NATO’s budget. Many respected observers, while stopping short of suggesting withdrawal, do indeed strongly encourage both a rethinking of NATO’s core mission and an intensified effort to have more member nations shoulder their fair share. I believe our contributions to NATO only total around 1% of our entire defense budget, but reducing our costs there combined with other reductions elsewhere could provide much needed funds for concerns here at home. While we really don’t need a Trump barrage of tweets aimed at European leaders, we do need some serious work in this area.

        • @hikone
          I was just trying to address klastri’s comment about Trump suggesting NATO be disbanded. As usual the MSM twisted Trump’s statement that resulted in kalstri’s assumtion.

        • Windward_Side – Your comment is not true. I come to my own decisions. It might help if you stopped being untruthful.

  • Man who jumps off a cliff jumps to a conclusion.

    Man who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

    Man who makes country go to war doesn’t determine who is right, but determines who is left.

  • “German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the U.S. president-elect’s view that NATO was obsolete and his criticism that European allied members aren’t paying their fair share had “caused astonishment.””

    Has anyone else noticed that the Europeans are NOT disagreeing that they are not paying their fair share to NATO ???
    They are just saying it “caused astonishment”.

    • They say they don’t need advice from others. They only need us to defend them from Putin and financially subsidize their defense so they can blow their money entertaining refugees and increasing benefits to workers that don’t work. the trans-Atlantic cooperation they seek is for us to keep sending them money so they can call us stupid. Such a deal! Trump is right.

  • Re:
    Europe “has no need for outside advice to tell it what to do,” Hollande said at a ceremony for outgoing U.S. ambassador in Paris Jane Hartley.

    But they welcomed “outside advice” when the Obama administration, which encouraged British people to vote to remain in the EU in the June referendum.
    Wishy-Washy

  • Re:
    “‘Europe will always be willing to pursue trans-Atlantic cooperation, but it will base its decisions on its interests and its values,’ he added.”

    That’s the way it should always be.
    That is also Trump’s position when dealing with foreign governments:
    “America First” !!!

  • It’s time to make them “pay up” for their protection. We’re 20 trillion dollars in debt, no more discounts or free rides. No more Mr. Nice Guy USA. Boohoo…The world is shocked that the USA is going to have a POTUS with a pair instead of being all talk. Hopefully those 24 radical Dems boycotting the inauguration will defect to France. They might as well because they won’t be reelected. Welcome to a flashback of the 80’s when Reagan ended the Cold War between the US & Russia. Get used to it.

    • Yes we are 20 trillion in debt but most of that is thanks to dumb republicans who believe in Voodoo, We shall see if republicans have learned anything during the past 8 years or will they just go back to deficits don’t matter and the way to balance the budget is to increase wasteful government spending while reducing revenue? Time will tell.

      • @Boots –
        “Yes we are 20 trillion in debt but most of that is thanks to dumb republicans who believe in Voodoo, We shall see if republicans have learned anything during the past 8 years or will they just go back to deficits don’t matter and the way to balance the budget is to increase wasteful government spending while reducing revenue? Time will tell.”

        Obama inherited 8 trillion in national debt which was a cumulative total of his 43 predecessors combined. He single-handedly accumulated 12 trillion more all by himself with his mighty pen which brings the total to 20 trillion. Talk about wasteful government spending? So how is that the dumb republicans fault? Yes the dumb republicans have learned something…It’s going to take a businessman instead of a smooth talking politically correct globalist politician without a pair to get this country on track.

  • It’s time for the other nations in Nato to pull their own weight. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, when push comes to shove only the British can really be depended on to fight with us. Everyone else is looking for the US to defend them.
    Trump has this right – America first!

  • “In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted: “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands.”
    “I’m personally going to wait until the American president takes office, and then we will naturally work with him on all levels,” she told reporters.”

    Markel tries to be revelant…good for him.

    • Oh good grief. How can you possibly know so little?

      Angela Merkel is a woman. Are you actually this ignorant, or are you just trying to be like your orange hero?

        • @ KKKlastri
          You must be fun with a couple rounds of suds?
          Do you get out often from your bomb shelter?

          4 more days…#MAGA

        • Keonigohan – Make sure you change the subject if you don’t know who an allied leader is. That always works! You don’t need to learn of know anything!

        • @ KKKlastri
          You’re too easy! lol
          You were bullied a lot weren’t you…it shows!
          That explains the narcissisim.

          4 days til your head pops! lol
          #MAGA

        • Keonigohan – You’re kidding yourself if you think you bother any thinking person on here. You are considered a buffoon and a joke. You never know anything about any subject. Never.

          Keep acting like an 8 year-old and imagining that you “get” to people here. You’re a pathetic, ignorant joke.

        • @ KKKlastri
          So your prediction the Market will CRASH when BREXIT…what happened?

          3 days to #MAGA…Deal with it!

        • Keonigohan – You believe that the United States is the only country on earth. People with money invest globally, including in the currency markets. They have not recovered.

          You have a very small world. Probably one square mile. Pathetic.

        • @ KKKlastri
          Make sure you change the subject if you don’t want the TRUTH about your 1000% batting average on your predictions running a big fat 0..nothing you ever predicyed came true! So what happened to your prediction on the Market CRASHING upon BREXIT happening?
          0

          Eat CROW you BLOVIATING F00L!

          3 days til a REAL POTUS becomes a reality! #MAGA

  • Mr. Trump also said that there are 22 NATO countries. Of course, there are 28 countries. He is proud of his remarkable ignorance.

    He knows almost none of the facts that a President needs to know. For as long as he is actually the President, we are all in for a very rough ride.

    • The PE and little Barry al-Hussein must share a similar degree of ignorance. Barry was under the impression there were 57 U.S. states a few years back. Guess that’s what happens when you spend your formative years in a SE Asian madrassa.

      • No, they definitely don’t share a similar level of ignorance. Mr. Trump wins that contest by a wide margin.

        Plus, Trump is a psychotic. There’s that too.

      • Obama did not think that there are 57 states. The context was that he was citing an instance that excluded three states and saying something about the remaining 47. In a slip of the tongue, he said 57 instead of 47. Have you never done that? In Trump’s case, it is doubtful that it was a slip of the tongue, rather another example of his profound ignorance.

        • Here is the transcript, with vocal ticks included:

          … uh, because, you know, i-i-it is just wonderful to be back in Oregon, and over the last 15 months we’ve traveled … uh to every corner of the United States. Uh, I’ve now been in fifty … ss-seven? states. I think one left to go. Uh, one left to go — eh, Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go to, even though I really wanted to visit but my staff would not, uh, justify it. Obama had a moment in which he could have searched his own short-term auditory memory for some mistake on his own part. Failing that, he could have turned aside to an aide and discovered his mistake, corrected himself quickly, and moved on. But he failed to do either, because he never admits failure. So he pretended to be in on the joke.

  • The fear among the progressive totalitarian class is so thick you can smell it. They’re exactly like US democrats. Under no circumstances must their proletarians be allowed to leave the plantation. Nor must the idea that they can get by without a huge, wasteful and unaccountable bureaucracy be allowed to take hold.

    How dare Trump encourage EU division. Independent minded EU rank and file are sick of being governed by people they did not elect. First Brexit and then Trump. Yep they’re scared alright.

  • PE trump just get us out of NATO and leave it to the EU, also kick out the UN out of our country and send them to Canada, turn the UN buildings to homeless shelters, that will also help make America great again.

        • I’m going to be in first chair with the ACLU fighting Mr. Trump. It’s going to be a great ride.

          Fighting him every day. Constantly throwing sand in the gears every time he tries to do something illegal on unconstitutional. I didn’t predict the election but I don’t lose trials.

        • @ KKKlastri
          Every sane reasonable thinking person knows you’re so #FullOfS__t…..a bloviating man child…bait biting f00j.

          My buds and I are going to be celebrating with a pot luck party this Friday…#MAGA PARTY…
          America WON!

  • By negotiating favorable trade deals with nations that break away from the EU, Trump will be advancing Putin’s goal of breaking up NATO, and all Putin has had to do to achieve this goal is offer a few casual compliments to the desperately insecure and narcissistic Trump,

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