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A Day of Peril for the E.U.: Threats Emerge From the U.S. and Within

“No one should relax, given the election result, with 60 percent of legislators on record as euroskeptic, let alone with Salvini’s extreme line on migration and the budget,” said Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian diplomat. “We’re a democracy and you can’t ignore the will of the people, any more than Europeans can ignore that America has elected Trump.”

But Mr. Trump’s latest blow against allies, the tariffs, only piles on the humiliation, Mr. Stefanini said.

“On every single major issue in the last 18 months the Trump administration has made decisions in total disregard of its allies’ position,” he said, listing climate, the Iran nuclear deal, the move of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem and “this one, tariffs, which clearly hits European economic interests.”

And now Mr. Trump is threatening restrictions on car imports, which may be aimed at Germany but will also hit France, Britain, Italy and others. “With good will, Europe has laid down to accommodate Trump and indulge his whims, but it doesn’t pay off,” Mr. Stefanini said.

Europeans are concluding that if Mr. Trump “chooses to give priority to being a competitor over being a partner and an ally, then we’ll compete hard.”

Still, a post-Brexit Europe that needs NATO and the American nuclear umbrella will work hard not to break the Atlantic link, he said, because the fundamentals of the alliance matter, and no president lasts forever.

Source: NYT > World

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