President-elect Donald Trump said yesterday that Brexit was smart and that more member states would follow UK and leave EU that anyway was dominated by Germany in a trade war against the US. The Eurosceptic statements were made in two interviews published yesterday (15 January) in the German newspaper Bild and the British newspaper Sunday Times.
The chief spokesperson of the European Commission was asked at today’s press briefing in Brussels to comment on Trump’s interviews. “We have read the interviews with interest,” was the only comment he was prepared to make.
Pressed by a journalist if this was all the Commission had to say about the “existential issues” Trump had raised in the interviews, the short reply was “yes, this is all”.
On EU and Brexit, Trump said: “You look at the EU and it’s Germany … basically a vehicle for Germany. That’s why I thought the UK was so smart in getting out. If you ask me, more countries will leave.”
Trump was critical against German chancellor Angela Merkel who had congratulated him on his victory in the election. “I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from. And nobody even knows where they come from.”
Other Europeans were more frank and worried in their reactions. The chairman of the foreign affairs’ committee in the German parliament, Norbert Röttgen, told German public radio Monday that Trump’s thinking was a “dangerous novelty for Europe and the world.”
“Whether the European Union is divided or contested doesn’t matter to him, whether NATO is there or not, doesn’t matter to him. It’s obsolete to him anyway,” Röttgen said.
Trump criticized not only EU but also NATO that he described as “obsolete”. First “because it was designed many, many years ago and second, countries aren’t paying what they should”.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after talks in Brussels with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg that Trump’s statement about an “obsolete” alliance had been “received with alarm.” Stoltenberg himself said diplomatically that he was “absolutely confident that the incoming US administration will remain committed to NATO.”
The Brussels Times