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Europe Needs Common Front Against Trump’s Bullying

Europe Needs Common Front Against Trump’s BullyingEurope Needs Common Front Against Trump’s Bullying

US President Donald Trump may have extended the grace period by one month, but make no mistake about it, he’s still holding a gun to Europe’s head in the tariffs dispute. The EU shouldn’t have any illusions: To get what he wants, Trump will continue his attempted extortion. And why not? It’s worked elsewhere, after all.

It’s high time, therefore, to find a European response to this wild-west policy approach. And if this doesn’t succeed, the sheriff in the White House certainly won’t shy away from a trade war in which there will only be losers in the end, WorldCrunch reported.

Europeans can’t say they weren’t warned. Already when Trump visited the EU and NATO, a year ago, he brought two clear messages with him. The first was that the German trade surplus is too high. And second, that the allies should, as agreed, spend more money on defense. The messages haven’t changed since then. The Europeans—especially Germany—wanted to wait and see if Trump would put his threat to operation and actually impose import tariffs on goods from Europe.

Since the US president heralded the customs countdown, the unrest has been huge. Trump’s flimsy justification that Europeans were endangering US national security with their steel and aluminum products is pure protectionism and nothing can justify it.

But that’s not Trump’s point. He doesn’t care about the rules of the World Trade Organization. The government in Washington made it clear in talks with the EU that it wants to use the tariffs threat as a lever to push down other trade restrictions—especially European import tariffs on US cars.

The EU must adopt a twin-track strategy: be constructive in its approach, but also tough. In the case of the heavy tariffs threat on steel and aluminum, Europeans must not deviate from their position. Anything else would be seen as a sign of weakness and would only validate Trump’s worldview.

 

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