Trump divides Brussels

Trump divides Brussels

A European Union trade row is brewing between France and Germany whose capitals are divided on what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker should offer to Donald Trump when they meet at the White House next week. As Daily Express writes in an article "Trump DIVIDES Brussels: Germany and France battle over Juncker's trade offer to US", Juncker, the EU’s most senior official, is jetting out to Washington to meet with the US President on July 25 in a bid to heal growing transatlantic trade divisions. Only last week, Mr Trump declared the EU his “foe”, leading to accusations from Europe that the American is attempting to sow seeds of discord through the 28-member bloc.

The American told CBS News: “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.” Mr Trump also recently advised French President Emmanuel Macron he should leave the EU in order to strike a better trade deal with the US. Paris is deeply concerned that EU bosses are being conciliatory with the US President after his continued tirade of threats aimed in the direction of Brussels. Berlin, however, is winning the race to shape Mr Juncker’s offer to Mr Trump on his White House visit, putting the bloc’s two most import nations at odds with one another.

The European Commission’s German-born Secretary-General Martin Selmayr is said to support the action plan of his homeland to send Mr Juncker with at least three separate offers to put on Mr Trump’s table. Mr Juncker is only able to put forward political signals to Washington as he is not allowed to begin formal negotiations without the approval of EU member states.

Express.co.uk understands a number of the EU28 are uneasy about the possibility of entering into trade negotiations with Mr Trump because of his insistence to achieve a win-only deal for the US. EU diplomats have explained their preference would be to enter negotiations if a win-win scenario can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Member state ambassadors will meet today to discuss the exact offer Mr Juncker should go armed with on his US trade mission. Paris has long maintained EU bosses should negotiate amid the growing list of trade threats from Mr Trump. Berlin is keen to see a deal struck with Washington after Mr Trump threatened to impose 20 percent import tariffs on European cars if the EU isn’t willing to remove its own tariffs and trade barriers. “Based on tariffs and trade barriers long placed on the US and its great companies and workers by the European Union, if these tariffs and barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing 20 percent tariff on all of their cars coming into the US. Build them here,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. Mr Juncker is hoping his Washington trip will “focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership”.

A Commission statement adds: “The two leaders will discuss the deep cooperation between the European Union and the United States government and institutions across a wide range of priorities, including foreign and security policy, counterterrorism, energy security and economic growth.” The White House’s own statement to announced the visit is far less welcoming of the EU official and his team, leaving out any talk of “deep cooperation”. Washington’s version reads: “The two leaders will discuss a wide range of priorities, including foreign and security policy, counterterrorism, energy security and economic growth.”

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