Nov 13, 2016: The British and French foreign ministers will not participate in special talks with their European Union counterparts Sunday to discuss how to deal with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the emergency meeting in Brussels after Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday on stated policies that include questioning Washington’s commitment to Europe.
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A British Foreign Office spokesman said Boris Johnson would not go to the meeting Sunday but would attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting Monday.
“We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the U.S. election timetable is long established,” the spokesman said. “An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition period and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain.”
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Following his victory, Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May. A Downing 10 Street spokesman said they agreed that the relationship between London and Washington is “very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both.”
Meanwhile, the French news agency AFP is reporting that Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will be “absent for agenda reasons.”
Britain and France will instead be represented by their ambassadors to the EU.
Monday, the foreign ministers will discuss plans to boost defense cooperation — a move that Britain had long blocked — including a controversial proposal for a European military headquarters.
In blunt remarks Friday reflecting the shock and concern among some European leaders at the election of Trump, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Trump poses risks for the relationship between the EU and the U.S.
“I believe we’ll have two years of wasted time while Mr. Trump tours a world he doesn’t know,” Juncker said, referring to Trump’s lack of solid foreign policy priorities that has kept much of the world guessing.
During the U.S. election campaign, candidate Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, questioned the principle of collective defense in NATO, and criticized the open border migration policies of some EU nations, among foreign policy issues.
On Wednesday, after Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk invited him to an EU-U.S. summit to discuss issues including terrorism and Ukraine. (VOA)