Call for United European Response to Washington

Call for United European Response to WashingtonCall for United European Response to Washington

French President Francois Hollande urged Europe to form a united front and provide a firm response to US President Donald Trump, at a gathering of southern European Union leaders on Saturday.

“We must conduct firm dialogue with the new American administration which has shown it has its own approach to the problems we all face,” he said at the end of the gathering, as he was flanked by the other leaders who took part, AFP reported.

Trump has rattled America’s traditional European allies with a range of radical policy plans.

He has called NATO “obsolete”, announced he would rip up a planned transatlantic trade plan and supported Britain’s move to leave the EU, praising the decision as “a wonderful thing” during a meeting on Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Hollande told the gathering that “when he adopts protectionist measures, which could destabilize economies not just in Europe but the economies of the main countries of the world, we have to respond”.

While officially the new administration in Washington was not on the agenda, the six other European leaders who took part in the summit also alluded to Trump.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Europe was “ready, interested and willing to cooperate” with the Trump administration.

“But we are Europe and we cherish our values,” he added.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defended the EU project, saying it had helped transform Europe into the world region with the “highest level of progress, civil rights and well being”.

The leaders of Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Portugal were also meeting in Lisbon. 

The summit was a follow-up to a first gathering in Athens in September 2016 as part of a push by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to create a strong southern “axis” to counter the influence of nations in northern Europe.

Caption: (L-R) Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, French President Francois Hollande, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni attend a gathering of southern European Union leaders in Lisbon, Portugal, on Jan. 28.

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