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A European Summit for the EU’s Future | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President of the European Council Donald Tusk listens during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Brussels- Concerns among the European Leaders are growing after U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Britain’s separation from the Union and his talks on other countries that would follow the U.K’s suit.

European Council President Donald Tusk has warned that worrying declarations from Trump are among the challenges faced by the EU. He said the change in Washington was part of an external threat that also included an assertive China, an aggressive Russia and radical Islam.

In a letter to 27 European leaders, Tusk said the new U.S. administration placed the EU in a difficult situation as it appeared to “put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.

Tusk’s comments were the hardest against Trump since he reached the White House 11 days ago and they reflected a growing feeling among many European countries for an urgent response to his policies, especially after he banned Muslims from seven countries to travel to the U.S..

In his letter, issued ahead of an EU summit in Malta to discuss Brexit mechanisms this week, Tusk considered that by insisting on protected trade, Trump provides the EU with a good opportunity and that more efforts should be made to ink more free trade agreements.

Tusk said the challenges currently facing the EU are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. China’s assertive foreign policy, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbors, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable, he explained.

The EU President asserted the disintegration of the EU will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China.

Tusk also highlighted other challenges like internal threats being connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In coincidence with the 60th anniversary of Rome Treaty, Tusk urged EU leaders for unity. Only together can we be fully independent, he said.

In a speech delivered in Brussels, King Philippe of Belgium expressed regret because the U.S. and Britain have decided to focus mainly on their own policies. He called on Europe to continue the building of a continent that enhances the national identity through cooperation instead of confrontation. He said that this cooperation will facilitate advancement in matters like migration and security, which will help on regaining the lost confidence.