Published On: Tue, Sep 3rd, 2019

Donald Trump snubs Juncker as he orders Ursula von der Leyen to ‘reset relationship’ | World | News


Instead, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is holding talks with European Parliament President David Sassoli and the EU’s incoming leadership team: Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, Council President-elect Charles Michel and nominee for foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell.

US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland insisted the White House was still in contact with Mr Juncker, Mr Tusk and foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, and will work with them as needed during their remaining months in office.

He said: ”We respect their roles and we will continue to re-engage with them on all kinds of things.”

He denied Washington had given up on the existing leadership and said the aim was to hit the ground running with the new team.

He said: “I think ‘writing off’ is too strong. What we are trying to do is to create the environment for a very smooth transition, so the day they take office we are already talking to them. So we don’t have a six-month learning process.

“That would probably be more detrimental to the relationship, to spend the first six months or a year trying to figure each other out.

“I essentially want to try to reset the relationship, and I want to try to start off on the right foot with the four leaders.”

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Mr Sondland’s were taken as an admission that ties had become increasingly tense since Mr Trump took office in 2017 and set about dismantling established policies, including trade relations, which he claims have been unfair to the US.

Mr Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords during his first months in office and then withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

He has rattled fellow world leaders at a number of summits, including a G7 meeting in Quebec last year and a NATO leaders’ event in Brussels a month later, when he warned the US would go it alone if allies failed to boost their defence budgets.

He told politico.eu: “I am now engaged in several conversations with all four of these leaders and I sense a very positive approach to EU-US relations from all four of them — not that these issues aren’t going to be difficult.

“It’s probably time to turn a fresh page and quickly find out where we can find common ground.

“We want to reset the relationship and I hope these meetings will be the catalyst to do that.”



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