Sunday, 19 February 2017
The American Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in Belgium on Sunday. This is the second stage of a European tour designed to reassure concerned allies about the White House’s new occupant Donald Trump, who wants Europe to contribute more to the collective defence.
Mr Pence and his entourage arrived at the Melsbroek military airport at 2pm on 2 C-32 planes, under heavy surveillance. The C-32 is the military version of a Boeing 757. The plane Mr Pence travelled on is known as “Air Force Two”, the Belga agency said.
The Vice- President was coming from Munich (Germany), where he attended an international security conference.
It’s his first visit to Europe since he took office on the 20th of January. He met with the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on Sunday evening, and will meet the Presidents of the European Council and Commission, Donald Tusk and Claude Juncker, on Monday. At a press conference on Sunday, Michel emphasised his message to Pence of a united and strong European Union in light of President Donald Trump’s support to the Brexit.
On Saturday, Mr Pence said that the United States’ commitment to NATO was “unwavering”, a statement directed at Mr Trump’s worried allies.
“The President asked me to be here today to pass on a message, that the United States firmly supports NATO and we will be unwavering in our commitment to the Atlantic Alliance”, he said during the Munich conference.
He assured his audience he was speaking on the American President’s behalf several times during his 20 minute speech. Trump has caused concern and confusion by calling NATO “obsolete” but “very important”.
“We will always be your biggest ally”, Mr Pence said. He spoke about the values of “democracy, justice, and human rights” shared by the United States and their European partners.