EU warns ‘delusional’ May over trade deals with Trump administration

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The EU has warned the Prime Minister against speedily setting up a trade deal with America after Donald Trump’s victory.

One of the most senior German politicians, Axel Schäfer, believes Mr Trump’s victory will leave Britain more isolated and reduce the chances of a trade deal.

Speaking to the Times newspaper, the Brexit adviser in Berlin, accused Theresa May of being delusional:

“What changed [with Trump’s election] is the likelihood of a speedy and preferential trade deal between UK and US,” he said.

“Even before Tuesday the chances were rather low, now the hope for this kind of deal seems delusional.

“Regarding foreign and security policy in general, the UK can withdraw from the European Union, but they cannot withdraw themselves from the European map.

“With a more inward-looking Trump administration, it is in United Kingdom’s own interest to seek close cooperation with their EU partners in this field.”

The Prime Minister has made her hopes for a pragmatic relationship with the President-elect clear.

However, the EU has also been clear about it’s shock and fear over the election of the populist billionaire.

The split in approach deepened further yesterday when it appeared that Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, was unlikely to attend a European “crisis” meeting tomorrow to discuss the US election, after saying that the EU was engaging in a “whinge-o-rama”.

The Foreign Office said that a final decision had not been made.

EU-US relations

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says US President-elect Donald Trump poses risks for the relationship between the European Union and the United States.

Speaking to students at a conference in Luxemburg late Friday, Juncker said Trump must get up to speed on how Europe works in order to avoid “two years of wasted time” when he assumes the presidency in January.

“Generally speaking,” Juncker said, “the political class and the US in general take no interest at all in Europe. Mr. Trump has said during his campaign — I was just telling this to our president here — that Belgium is a little village in Europe. It’s spot on if you look from very far, but it does not reflect the reality. So we have to teach the president-elect what Europe really is and how Europe works.”

Juncker reminded his audience that Trump had called NATO into question, which could have “harmful consequences” because it is the model of Europe’s defense.

“He called into question the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, which is actually quite pernicious, and so he questions the model of the defense of Europe,” Juncker said. “With regards to refugees and non-American whites, Trump has an approach which in no way coincides with the convictions and feelings in Europe. I think that we will waste two years before Mr. Trump gets to know the parts of the world he is unaware of.”

Juncker’s blunt remarks reflected the shock and concern among some European leaders at the election of Trump, who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other statements, and questioned the principle of collective defense in NATO.

During the US election campaign, candidate Trump was also a vocal critic of the open border migration policies of some EU nations.

Juncker’s comments contrasted with the more diplomatic reactions of other European leaders, who have said they look forward to working with the next Republican president.

On Wednesday, after Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk invited him to an EU-US summit to discuss issues including terrorism and Ukraine.