EU welcomes Pence assurance of Trump’s support
BRUSSELS – ReutersU.S. Vice President Mike Pence assured the European Union in Brussels on Feb. 20 that the Trump administration will develop their cooperation in trade and security and backs the EU as a partner in its own right.
A month after U.S. President Donald Trump caused alarm by renewing his endorsement of Brexit and suggesting others may follow Britain out of the EU, Pence told reporters that he had come to “the home of the European Union” with a message from the president.
Speaking of a “strong commitment ... to continue cooperation and partnership with the European Union”, Pence added: “Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same heritage, the same values and above all, the same purpose to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”
Donald Tusk, who chairs the European Council of EU leaders, told reporters that Pence had given him affirmative answers to three questions on Trump’s support for: the current system of international law, NATO and “the idea of a united Europe.”
“Reports of the death of the West have been greatly exaggerated,” Tusk said, in a nod to American writer Mark Twain.
EU officials said they were encouraged by what they called Pence’s clear assurances, including on U.S. backing for holding the European Union together after Brexit, though they will watch closely to see how far Trump’s actions match his deputy’s words.
“We got everything we were looking for,” one official said.
Pence noted the building of common European institutions after World War Two and said: “With this union and in cooperation with the United States, history will attest that when the United States and Europe are peaceful and prosperous, we do advance the peace and prosperity of all the world.”
Pence also met Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the executive European Commission, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. She said they discussed Syria, Ukraine, Libya, the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea. Pence was later due to meet NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg before flying home.