European leaders met on Friday (3 February) in the Maltese capital, Valetta, to discuss their concerns regarding the new US administration in a “very open discussion“, said the host of the gathering, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. EU leaders vowed to remain united in response to Donald Trump’s criticism of the bloc and pledged to speak up whenever Washington breaches any of the EU’s principles and values.
EU leaders also stood against President Trump’s ban on the nationals of seven-majority Muslim countries, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced by stressing that “fighting terrorism should not be a reason for a blanket stigmatization”. Mrs. Merkel also noted that trans-Atlantic relationship remained important but added that the new US administration was pushing Europe to “take our destiny in our own hands”. European Council President Donald Tusk had earlier described Donald Trump as a “challenge“ to Europe, which can turn into a “threat” if the bloc loses its unity and focus.
However, Mr. Tusk also emphasized that a strong EU-US relationship has been and should remain “a key pillar of the free world.” British Prime Minister Theresa May added that she had “made clear” to Mr. Trump that a strong EU was good for the US while also urging Brussels to “work patiently and constructively” with the US and warning that division and confrontation would only come back to harm the bloc. French President François Hollande on his part stressed that EU countries should not try to seek bilateral deals with the United States:
During their meeting in Malta, EU leaders also discussed migration and approved another batch of financial support worth €200 million for the Libyan government to stop migrants from attempting to cross the Mediterranean. “Our way is cooperation and partnership, we do not believe in walls and bans,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini commented.