European Union summit marks escalation of conflict between Europe and US

At a European Union (EU) summit in Malta on Friday, leaders of various countries of the EU expressed their reservations about U.S. president Donald Trump and said that he should not meddle in affairs of the EU.

As if to underline the distance from the White House at which the European Union now finds itself, it was left to Theresa May, leader of the country that's exiting the alliance, to brief her counterparts.

Asked if Ms May could serve as a bridge between the European Union and the US, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite said there was "no necessity for bridges" because "today we are communicating with the US only on Twitter". And I think it's like an alarm call.

Merkel said that European Union member states should maintain their unity, in response to multiple challenges faced by the bloc.

Springford said that Trump's offer of a free trade deal with Britain will hinder her Brexit negotiations. What matters is solidarity at the European Union level. "It could be a catalyst for a stronger Europe, for a more united Europe. Only together can we be fully independent", Mr Tusk said.

"We must not imagine some sort of external protection", he said.

"It is unacceptable that there should be, through a certain number of statements by the president of the United States, pressure on what Europe should or should not be", Hollande told reporters at an European Union summit in Malta.

Within minutes of arriving the French President appeared to cast doubt on that commitment: "Who knows what President Trump wants on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation?"

In other diplomatic developments, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader said his country wouldn't yield to "useless" threats over its ballistic missile program from "an inexperienced person".

On Thursday, the prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, whose country holds the rotating European Council presidency, said that he wanted a "fair deal" for the United Kingdom after Brexit, but said that it must be inferior to full membership in the European Union.

The Prime Minister is also expected to say that the United Kingdom will continue to help with Europe's migrant crisis and will be a "reliable partner" after Brexit, says the BBC.

"It's not acceptable for the global community if America shirks responsibility. Number two - the countries aren't paying what they're supposed to pay", he said.

"We need tax revenues, we need a fair tax system, in order to make necessary investments in our society".

Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg's PM, said it was "too short to make conclusions" on Trump but these were "not the values I'm fighting for in politics".

"Europe holds its fate in its own hands", she added. But they never believed he was actively campaigning for the destruction of a political and economic union that has enjoyed bipartisan USA support ever since World War II.

  • Wendy Palmer