The European Union (EU) has announced accelerated trade talks with Mexico, in what one MEP slammed as a “provocation” to U.S. President Donald J. Trump.
The European Commission, the EU’s unelected executive arm, said Wednesday that the EU Trade Commissioner had scheduled talks with the Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal in April and June.
Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has signalled that Mexico may be forced to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and could face higher U.S. import duties.
In a thinly veiled dig at the U.S. president, the EU Commissioner and Mexican minister said in a joint statement:
“Together, we are witnessing the worrying rise of protectionism around the world. Side by side, as like-minded partners, we must now stand up for the idea of global, open cooperation.”
“The U.S. is our closest ally. But, Donald Trump wants Europe to be split and weak. So does Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Manfred Weber, leader of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group, said in the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The EPP is led by the liberal, anti-Brexit Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and is closely associated with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Janice Atkinson MEP, Vice President of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, claimed the Mexico talks were first announced in a closed meeting of the EPP.
She told Breitbart London the move by the EU and Mexico was a deliberate affront to the new U.S. administration.
“It is quite outrageous that the leader of the free world, elected by a large majority, is condemned for implementing his election promises, is being treated in such a manner. I do not support the invitation by Merkel’s people to the presidents of Mexico and Canada ahead of Mr. Trump.
“This is sheer provocation. To invite these two people who border the US and who are in conflict with Mr. Trump is typical of the way the Parliament conducts its business,” Mrs. Atkinson said.
The EU and Mexico have had a free trade pact since 2000. However, trade between the two partners has doubled since it was agreed and there is now a desire to greatly expand the deal.
EU politicians have been vocal in their criticism of Mr. Tump in his short time in power. Former European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the U.S. president was “un-American” and Margaritis Schinas, the official spokesman for Mr. Juncker, implied Mr. Trump wished to “discriminate” on the basis of race and religion.