It’s already been a year. Hard to believe that US President Trump has survived in the White House for this long. When he started, a whiff of panic spread in Brussels. Still, the amateur politician benefits the EU – for now.
All the worries we had! That Trump might use Brexit to create divisions within the EU. He didn’t manage to do that. Only Poland is drifting away, but remains part of the club (for the time being).
The trade war, which was particularly feared in Germany, also didn’t happen. Instead, the EU has recorded a greater demand for free trade agreements which are supposed to come every six months from now on.
Okay, TTIP’s dead. The climate treaty of Paris is wavering. The nuclear agreement with Iran is questionable. The threat of war is growing around the world. But all of this hasn’t hit EUrope – not yet.
So far, the fear of an ‘end of the world as we know it’ (‘Spiegel’) seems more like a staple. Because of Trump, Putin and Erdogan, EUropeans are moving closer together – and that’s good!
Some things are even easier now than before, for example the common defence. However, the EU is far from becoming independent of the US and NATO.
Chancellor Merkel, who wanted to make the EU ‘a little bit independent’, will not change that either. Fundamentally, she is still an Atlanticist. She doesn’t want to counter the United States as some in Paris and Brussels do.
But in the long run it will not be enough to point to the ‘outer enemy’ and treat him (despite everything) like a good old friend. At some point, Merkel & Co. must come clean.
The French head of state, Macron, has understood this. He has presented a coherent vision for the post-American era: an internal and externally confident EUrope.
In Berlin, however, they are already in the process of slowing down Macron and cooking softly. Meanwhile, Trump is preparing the next ‘coup’ in Washington. At some point, it’ll also hit the EU…