“How Trump Will Save Europe” Mark Leonard & Vessela Tchernev, Politico, 7 February 2017

“Divisions between the EU’s member countries will begin to pale in comparison to the existential threat of an increasingly likely Trump-Putin era. As Europe wakes up to the dangers, it may become more willing to make compromises —on Russian sanctions and refugee allocation, for example — to develop a coherent foreign policy”.

Trump has proved that the threat he presents to European interests is not overstated. There is good news, however. His antipathy toward the EU is so “yuge” that it could reignite the bloc’s sense of common purpose. Trump is not just the first U.S. President not actively supporting the EU; he wants its disintegration. His stance on global trade, the Paris climate deal and the Iran nuclear deal threaten key elements of global governance. His back-and-forth on NATO and coziness with Putin are deeply worrying for European security. Trump has taken office when Europe is drifting away from “integration” due to a rise of nationalism. Yet, it’s not too late for Europe to turn its fortunes around. There are encouraging signs that the political momentum is shifting. In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party was defeated in presidential elections. In France, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron is leading the polls. Divisions between the EU’s member countries will begin to pale in comparison to the existential threat of an increasingly likely Trump-Putin era. As Europe wakes up to the dangers, it may become more willing to make compromises —on Russian sanctions and refugee allocation, for example — to develop a coherent foreign policy. European states must avoid giving in to fear and seeking out bilateral deals with the U.S. Europe must not allow itself to be divided and conquered. The EU must speak with one voice to defend international agreements and human rights, including the right of refuge. Presenting a united front on trade would be a start. Challenge: European security cooperation, as intelligence sharing between European countries has lagged. Europe has to stabilize the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and North Africa. This needs a common policy on security. As a mid-term goal, Europeans should work to synchronize military capabilities, technologies, defense systems and nuclear deterrence. Trump provides a strong incentive to keep Europe’s alliance alive.

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“How Trump Will Save Europe” Mark Leonard & Vessela Tchernev, Politico, 7 February 2017

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