EU ‘weakened’ by years of talking it down, says former US ambassador
Meanwhile, opposition grows over controversial replacement as US ambassador to EU.
Former American ambassador to the EU, Anthony Gardner | Photo Credit: PA Photos
Meanwhile, opposition grows over controversial replacement as US ambassador to EU
The former American ambassador to the EU has said the Union is “too often the whipping boy” for Europe’s problems.
Anthony Gardner, who recently stood down from his EU post in Brussels, made a robust defence of the EU and its institutions condemning US President Donald Trump for his “anti-EU” rhetoric.
Trump has been a vocal critic of the EU and also of Nato which he branded “obsolete.”
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But Gardner, currently a visiting Fellow at the College of Europe in Bruges, said Trump had applied a “cartoon style caricature” to the workings of the EU, arguing that, “Instead, [Trump] would be better to listen to his cabinet members who have been saying the total opposite.”
Gardner said, “To suggest, as Trump has, that the EU is about to fall apart is quite wrong.”
He also defended the Eurozone, saying, “It’s been said that the euro is not performing well when, in fact, the opposite is the case.
“This is an example of how the EU is too often a whipping boy for all of Europe’s ills. The responsibility for this rests with national member states. But it is true that the EU has been weakened by years of talking it down, as is happening now with Trump.”
Elsewhere, the leader of the European Parliament’s Socialist MEPs, Gianni Pittella has responded to “contradictory” statements reportedly made by Ted Malloch, the man tipped to replace Gardner as US ambassador to the EU, saying the controversial economist’s credibility was under question.
The Financial Times has suggested that a number of statements Malloch made in his autobiography, ‘Davos, Aspen & Yale: My Life Behind the Elite Curtain as a Global Sherpa’, are misleading or contradictory.
The claims questioned include Malloch’s suggestion that a documentary he presented, Doing Virtuous Business, had been nominated for an Emmy. The paper also casts doubt on Malloch’s claims to have been “knighted” by the Queen and lauded as a “genius” or “global Sherpa” by Margaret Thatcher.
Pittella said, “After the recent press leaks, Malloch’s character seems to be more and more controversial – to use soft language. His personal credibility has been heavily put into question, something I would suggest President Trump takes into consideration before making his choice [of new ambassador to the EU].”
Pittella also drew attention to Malloch’s “personal and political hostility, not only toward the EU”, but also to “our common values and principles”.
“For the sake of the current and future relationship with the US administration, we strongly recommend President Trump not appoint Malloch as next US ambassador to the EU. Should President Trump be otherwise willing to challenge Europe so blatantly, I think the EU should then declare him (Malloch) ‘persona non grata’,” Pittella added.
The EU has been condemned for inviting the Iranian foreign minister for talks in Brussels this week.
MEPs will vote on a raft of energy proposals and debate the future of the EU during the first plenary session of the year, next week in Strasbourg.
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