Obama’s envoy to Brussels warns Trump against the ‘lunacy’ of backing an EU break-up

Reuters reports: Barack Obama’s envoy to Brussels warned Donald Trump against the “lunacy” of backing an EU break-up, saying Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage may have given the incoming U.S. president a false impression that more countries might follow Britain out of the bloc.

Anthony Gardner, a banker who has run U.S. relations with the European Union for three years, made the frank comments on Friday in a final news conference a week before Trump has ordered all Obama appointees to quit.

Gardner condemned the move as an unprecedented “guillotine exit” that had disrupted public servants’ lives.

Referring to Trump’s welcome for the British vote to leave the EU and the apparent influence of Farage in the Trump camp, Gardner said: “For us to be the cheerleaders of Brexit and to be encouraging Brexit Mark 2, Mark 3, is the height of folly.”

Gardner said Farage, an EU lawmaker and Trump ally, had written to him recently requesting a meeting. The U.S. envoy said Farage’s views were the “polar opposite” of his own and he thought Farage had misled Trump’s transition team on the state of the EU.

Describing calls to EU institutions from Trump’s aides in recent weeks, Gardner said: “That was the one question that was asked – basically, ‘What’s the next country to leave?’. Which is kind of suggesting that the place is about to fall apart.”

“It’s just reflective of the general perception, a misperception, a perception that Nigel Farage is presumably disseminating in Washington and it’s a caricature.”

He said it would be “fundamentally flawed” for the United States to ignore the EU as “dysfunctional” and instead focus on key allies like Britain and Germany.

“We should not depart from 50 years of foreign policy with regard to the EU,” he said. “We should not become the cheerleaders for Brexit, particularly if Brexit appears more likely to be a hard, disorderly unmanaged Brexit.”

“A hard Brexit or a fragmentation of the European market would be very bad news for American business,” he added. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “Obama’s envoy to Brussels warns Trump against the ‘lunacy’ of backing an EU break-up

  1. Dieter Heymann

    The EU began with the Benelux. It meant much freer traveling within that association. I shall never forget the time when I no longer had to change currency for staying in almost every pre-Euro country. And lose some 5% for fees. I doubt that Europeans will love to go back to customs and money changes at every border. The vacation industries of Spain, Italy and Greece will suffer.
    The tragedy of Europe is that its history makes it very hard for the EU to ever become a UE. Brexit helps a bit but there still are too many kingdoms left. Countries in which the head of state is not hereditary but elected may be more easily convinced to make a UE with an elected president.
    The most vocal advocates for a EU breakup are politicians such as LePen. The planned breakup is clearly directed at hurting Germany economically. They have learned nothing from Versailles.

  2. Paul Woodward

    Not so sure about the influence of constitutional monarchies in undermining European unity. It seems like it’s the rightwing nationalists who pose the biggest threat and as the case of Le Pen in republican France demonstrates, nationalists have no need for a monarchy in order to advance their anti-EU agenda.

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