The U.S. Department of State told Breitbart London it respects the sovereignty of European states after appearing to swerve from President Donald Trump’s long-standing commitment to Brexit and independent nation-states by publicly backing the further expansion of the European Union.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus leapt to defend the President of the European Council, neoliberal globalist Donald Tusk on Friday, giving her support to a then-pending decision on inviting Albania and North Macedonia to join the European Union as new member-states.
EU expansion has long been a difficult topic and has at times been a source of considerable tension, with its support by the State Department (roughly equivalent to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office) being complicated by the fact the bloc is preparing to lose a member-state for the first time as the United Kingdom prepares for Brexit — a serious blow to pro-EU expansionists and a move which President Trump has strongly supported.
Ms Ortagus wrote on social media: “Tusk has it right: the time to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is now. The United States will welcome an affirmative #EUCO decision, recognizing both countries’ hard fought gains on necessary reforms.”
.@eucopresident Tusk has it right: the time to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is now. The United States will welcome an affirmative #EUCO decision, recognizing both countries’ hard fought gains on necessary reforms. https://t.co/AWHiDrwHD7
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) October 18, 2019
However, contrary to the expressed views of the State Department — which strongly insisted they merely express the views of the President by way of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — President Trump has long made clear his enthusiasm for bilateralism and strong, self-interested partners working together over supranational clubs like the European Union.
The statement raised inevitable questions over the State Department’s official position on the vexed issue of EU expansionism, and indeed on Brexit itself.
The timing of the intervention was also unexpected, given the European Union’s plans to expand south-eastward into Balkan states Albania and North Macedonia were hotly contested by EU member-state governments and collapsed later in the day, pushing a decision back to 2020 at the earliest.
Yet the State Department later moved to qualify their remarks, insisting they respected both the hopes of North Macedonia to enter the European Union, and of the British people to leave it.
EU refusal to simply open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania about eventually joining the #EU shows #Europe as weak, unreliable, and shortsighted. This mistake isn’t so different from some of the mistakes @realdonaldtrump has made recently.
— Alexander Soros, PhD (@AlexanderSoros) October 18, 2019
Responding to a request from Breitbart London, a senior department official said: “We talk about sovereignty and decisions. We’re for countries making their choice in the institutions that they choose to join. We’re not going to tell them to join one or another.
“The people of North Macedonia have voted in a referendum to take certain steps toward this kind of integration. These are countries that want to be in the EU, and the UK has made its own decision, voting through a referendum to leave.”
The denial of a dual-speed foreign policy — led by a President sceptical of the supranational on one hand and a State Department embracing it on the other — comes as Washington swamp insider publication of choice Politico splashed on State Department officials “taking their revenge” on the White House. Noting criticisms including the Department being “derided as a Deep State” and being stuffed with “Obama holdovers” by its critics, the Politico report stated staffers “demoted or sidelined” in the Trump era were using Ukraine allegation testimonies to “air long-held grievances”.
The report reproduced the remarks of former U.S. ambassador Laura Kennedy who said of the feelings towards Trump foreign policy in the State Department in 2019: “People are fed up… There’s a deep well of resentment that’s just bubbled toward the top.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 12, 2018
President Trump has clearly been cool on globalist-minded supranational bodies like the European Union, which has clashed with his administration on foreign policy and trade, repeatedly praising the people of the United Kingdom for voting to withdraw from the European Union.
Undermining the suggestion he supports European expansionism are comments such as his 2017 interview with The Times newspaper when President Trump made clear that in contrast to the values and future being pursued by the political leadership in Brussels, the people of Europe “want their own identity” and he believed other nations would follow Britain and leave the European Union in time.
Indeed, as recently as September, the President told the United Nations: “The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots, the future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”
While the State Department insists it respects the sovereignty of North Macedonia, understanding the extent to which the European Union itself has respect for its would-be newest member is murky at best. Long-time EU member Greece has used the Union to wage a vendetta against its northern neighbour for decades, insisting North Macedonia not be referred to by its own chosen name of ‘Macedonia’ but be called the ‘Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia’, eventually succeeding in making the formal name change to ‘North Macedonia’ a condition of EU membership.
While this was widely reported to have been a humiliating blow to the country, the promise of easy EU money and free migration in the future generally proves too much to resist for small, less wealthy nations on the fringes of Europe.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 6, 2015
The European Union has pursued a policy of aggressive expansionism in the 21st century, often with mixed results. Its determined efforts to bring Ukraine into its sphere of influence was one of the direct causes leading to the deadly Ukraine conflict, their involvement being so destructive that Brexit leader Nigel Farage in 2014 said the Union had “blood on its hands in the Ukraine.”
Working in tandem with the rapid expansion into Eastern Europe has been the European Union’s ultra-liberal approach to open borders and free movement of people.
While this generally benefitted the bloc’s original, relatively wealthy member-states, the sudden extension of freedom of movement to millions of new EU citizens from poorer new member-states in the south and east of Europe has been a genuine and significant source of social friction, and undercut wages for workers in countries like the United Kingdom.
Indeed, the sudden surge in immigration from new EU member-states to the United Kingdom when the bloc expanded to the east in the early 2000s was a significant contributing factor to the souring of relations between the British people and “the European Project”.
This distrust was not addressed by the political establishment, however, and eventually resulted, in concert with other concerns, in the Brexit vote of 2016 — predicted by President Trump and perhaps the greatest blow yet to the EU’s authority and integrity.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 2, 2018