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    European Council President Donald Tusk

    ‘Prays for Breakup of EU’: Donald Tusk Slams Trump as 'Europe’s Greatest Challenge'

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    The EU-US relationship has been less predictable since Donald Trump won the US Presidency, with his comments ranging from supporting Brexit to suggesting other countries are “being held back by the European Union”.

    Outgoing European Union Council President Donald Tusk has branded US President Donald Trump as possibly the greatest challenge for the European Union, in an interview for German weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

    The former Polish prime minister emphasised that Trump's continued antagonism was unprecedented for a US President towards the European Union:

    “For the first time in history, there is an American president who is openly against a united Europe. He supports Brexit and prays for the breakup of the Union,” Tusk said.

    Tusk, whose term ends at the end of this month, said the US president is actively undermining the EU and hoping for it to fail, as the bloc faces uncertainty over Brexit and a politically fragmented European Parliament.

    "He supports Brexit and prays for the breakup of the Union," said Tusk, describing the president as "perhaps the most difficult challenge" for the EU.

    Trump vs EU

    Donald Trump has repeatedly maligned the EU, describing the bloc as a "foe" when asked whom he considered to be America's adversaries.

    In a 15 July 2018 interview for CBS, when asked to name his biggest competitor and foe globally, the US president said there were "a lot of foes" and first on his list was the EU.

    Trump also said this was because of "what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn't think of the European Union but they're a foe."

    Donald Trump has repeatedly lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron's suggestion that EU members should work together to create a unified military force.

    "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidises greatly," Trump had said.

    Throughout his term in office Donald Trump has been scaling up his demands on NATO allies, repeatedly taking key EU states like Germany and France to task for not spending enough on defence.

    On the issue of Brexit, President Trump publicly supported the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc, urging former British Prime Minister Theresa May to adopt a tougher stance with Brussels, even suggesting she sue the EU rather than negotiate over Brexit.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip May, right, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, second right, walk from 10 Downing Street to the Foreign Office for a joint press conference in central London, Tuesday, June 4, 2019
    © AP Photo / Frank Augstein
    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip May, right, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, second right, walk from 10 Downing Street to the Foreign Office for a joint press conference in central London, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

    On numerous occasions the US President has touted the advantages of a trade agreement between the US and the UK post-Brexit.

    “You’re being held back by the European Union. They’re very tough people to deal with,” said Trump in an LBC interview on 31 October.

    US- EU relations suffered a serious setback last year when the Trump administration introduced special tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU and other countries, with the EU responding with symmetrical import taxes on US products.

    The tariffs were part of Trump’s effort to protect US industry and workers from what he described as unfair international competition, a key theme of his “America First” agenda.

    Social Media Weighs In 

    Social media users were swift in weighing in on the statement made by Donald Tusk, their comments reflecting a split attitude, as many wrote they were “embarrassed to be American”.

    Other netizens’s comments supported Trump’s stance.

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    Tags:
    Brexit, Brexit, European Union, European Union, EU, EU, EU, Donald Trump, Donald Tusk
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