European Union foreign ministers held an informal meeting in Brussels late Sunday to discuss trans-Atlantic relations with the United States under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.
Foreign ministers conceded that they will have to continue working on strengthening Europe's role in world affairs until the future of trans-Atlantic relations becomes clearer, depending upon the steps the new U.S. administration will take.
The EU's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday on stated policies that include questioning Washington's commitment to Europe, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.
Mogherini said, however, the EU would stand strong in its support for the Paris Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal; two policies Trump has criticized.
“The European Union and the United States are partners and will continue to be partners for what concerns us in the European Union based on our own values, principles, interests, and also we discussed the need to strengthen the European unity around some key issues that will be even more crucial in the months to come. First of all, the need to work on the multilateral system, for us it's extremely important to work on the climate change agreement implementation,” she said.
Mogherini said the Iran nuclear deal is a multi-lateral agreement that is also in the interest of Europe.
"And on Iran let me tell you very clearly, I've stated this already: This is not a bilateral agreement, this is multilateral agreement endorsed by a U.N. Security Council resolution, so it's our European interest, but it's also a U.N. somehow interest and duty to guarantee that the agreement is implemented in full for the all duration of the agreement, which is 10 years,” she added.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni noted that Trump does not take office until January, and that Europe has its own problems to deal with until then, such as the refugee emergency and economic issues.
"I don't think Europe should be worried about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and the European Union and each single country of the EU will certainly work with him, since the US is our main ally. Europe has to focus on its own problems, and solve the questions and open issues within itself and its citizens. We must work to solve our problems of economic growth, migrations, security. A Europe that is strong and capable of tackling these problems will certainly be able to work well with the United States," said Gentiloni.
EU nations are anxious to see how many of Trump's campaign announcements, like isolationist positions on security, his rejection of international trade pacts and refusal to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, might translate into real policy.
Given Trump's clear opposition to major trade pacts, EU officials are not certain the massive Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, will have to be renegotiated, if any elements of it will remain in tack.
In blunt remarks Friday reflecting the shock and concern among some European leaders at the election of Trump, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Trump poses risks for the relationship between the EU and the U.S.
On Wednesday, after Trump's victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk invited him to an EU-U.S. summit to discuss issues including terrorism and Ukraine.
The EU foreign ministers meet again formally Monday to discuss strained ties with membership candidate country Turkey, the conflict in Syria and Libya, and defense cooperation with the NATO military alliance.