Washington/Brussels: US President Donald Trump has delivered a severe blow to the European Union, which has open disputes with the United States over trade, Israel-Palestine and Brexit. Without giving any prior notice, President Trump has downgraded the political status of the European Union. This matter has come up because of some incidences in the United States at the end of the last year, and this is a major jolt for the European Union. It is an indication of the widening rift between the United States and the European Union.
President Trump has withdrawn the member country status awarded to the European Union. Henceforth, the political status of the European Union will be only of an international organisation and its officials will also be treated on the same basis. The Union had quizzed the US State Department regarding incidences which occurred at the end of last year and the state department in its answer said that the political status of the Union had been downgraded and it ‘Forgot’ to issue a notice beforehand.
The United States not issuing a notice to the Union, before such an action comes as an insult to the Union. The reaction in the European political circles is that the United States should have issued a notice at least as a rule or protocol. The European officials are claiming that the downgrading of the political status of the Union is nothing but a predetermined policy move.
David Sullivan, the Ambassador of the European Union, was not invited for some important functions held in the United States. Sullivan was not honoured as an Ambassador of a member country during the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush and the function that followed. Even during the program to pay homage, his name was announced in the very end. Following these incidences, when the Union quizzed the US state department, they were informed about the downgrade in the status.
The reason behind this is believed to be President Trump’s policy regarding Europe. President Trump has consistently reprimanded Europe regarding trade and participation in NATO. Trump who imposed taxes on European products, given the trade deficit, had indicated a more aggressive action. At the same time, he also warned that the United States was bearing a major portion of the defence expenditure of Europe and this will not continue in the future.
There are extreme disputes between the United States and the European Union over Israel-Palestine conflict, Jerusalem, Iranian nuclear program, Syrian war and oil. Against these backgrounds, some of the European leaders had expressed concerns that the United States is no more a trusted ally. Therefore, the downgrade of the political status becomes a rap on the knuckles for the Union. Although the relations between the United States and the European Union are under stress, relations of the United States with some of the European countries seem to be improving.
These European countries are fed up with the policies of the Union and these countries are developing a feeling that the Union is challenging their sovereignty on the economic front. In such a scenario, these countries are finding President Trump, who is bitterly opposing the Union, closer than the Union. Therefore, there are open talks about the Union’s days being numbered. The United States also seems to have delivered a clear message that the European Union is losing its influence, by downgrading the political status.