The President of the European Council has listed “demagogues” like U.S. President Donald J. Trump as an “existential threat” to the bloc alongside “terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role”.
Writing in an open letter discussing current challenges to the European Union (EU), Donald Tusk also included China and “Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine” in his list of “external threats”.
“For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best,” he continued.
“Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.”
Turning to “internal” threats, the former Prime Minister of Poland took aim at the resurgence of confidence in the nation state and popular sovereignty over globalist institutions.
He slammed what he called “the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU” and said “National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration”.
We must remember forgotten truths: Europe united to avoid another historic catastrophe. Times of European unity best times ever.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 31, 2017
“The third threat”, he wrote, was a simultaneous loss of confidence and change in “the state of mind of the pro-European elites” in the face of populism.
Among elites, he said, was “a decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible”.
“If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else?” he asked.
Later, citing the leaders of Russia, China, the U.S., and Turkey, he asserted: “Let us have the courage to oppose the rhetoric of demagogues, who claim that European integration is beneficial only to the elites, that ordinary people have only suffered as its result, and that countries will cope better on their own, rather than together.”
Addressing trade and protectionism, he said the EU should “use the change in the trade strategy of the US to the EU’s advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time”.
EU leaders have already been outspoken in their opposition to the policies of the new U.S. president.
On Monday, a spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker implied the U.S. wished to “discriminate” on the basis of race and religion after Mr. Trump paused immigration from some terror-linked states.
“This is the European Union and in the European Union we do not discriminate on the basis of nationality, race or religion – not only when it comes to asylum, but in any of our other policies,” he said.