(Bloomberg) -- Formerly-Communist European nations that over the last quarter century have embraced the West are at risk from shifts in U.S. foreign policy under President Donald Trump, according to one of the European Union’s top officials.
EU President Donald Tusk said Trump is seeking to “reconstruct the global order in a way where America has no stable friends but has flexible alliances,” which could hurt Eastern European nations that rely on American military muscle to ward off threats from Russia.
The comments came after a chaotic NATO summit in Brussels this week, where Trump pressed European allies over military spending and trade, while publicly saying that he’s looking forward to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, said Trump’s dislike for the EU was a threat for the 28-nation bloc, which, after nearly a decade of economic malaise, is struggling with Brexit, an immigration crisis and the rise of right-wing nationalists across Europe. If divisions form in the world’s largest trading bloc, the poorer East will lose out, he added.
“Trump’s aversion to the EU and NATO exceeds standards, while his openness to people like the dictator of North Korea and President Putin is quite significant,” Tusk told Polish broadcaster TVN24 on Friday. “I’m warning those in Europe who are happy to see that Trump can punch Europe” that a re-balancing of strategic U.S. relationships “should be a source of concern in our part of the continent, including in Poland,” he said.
Governments in several Eastern EU nations, such as Poland and Hungary, view Trump as a political ally in their fight against Europe’s liberal elites. Tusk said that the American president appeared to gloat about the EU’s frailty when the two men first spoke.
“Trump called me up and asked how’s Europe? How’s Brexit going? Are others seeking to leave?” Tusk said.
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