Can Europe stand up to President Donald Trump?
Donald Trump has given his first interview to the European press, and his quotes have left politicians reeling. Nato is obsolete. The UK will be better off outside the EU. Angela Merkel's refugee policies have been a disaster. In the wake of these comments, Europe's media calls for the Union to stand firm.
We are the masters of our own destiny - Corriere della Sera, Italy
In her reaction to the interview, Angela Merkel warned the EU member states not to let Trump's criticism unsettle them. That is the right attitude, Corriere della Sera agrees:
"Will the inauguration on Friday in Washington be a day of mourning for Europe? The start of a political, economic and social nightmare for a society that is already weak and is now facing the coup de grâce? ...We Europeans would be making a huge mistake if, instead of defending our common interests, we started worrying about unlaid eggs and complaining about how for the first time since the end of World War II America is now neglecting or even opposing us... Europe has much to lose, but also much to win. Instead of leaving it to its slow death throes, Trump has put Europe on red alert... Now it is up to the Europeans, as Merkel says, to take their fate into their own hands. They are the ones who will decide their future, not Trump." (17/01/2017)
Clueless about Europe - Sme, Slovakia
Donald Trump has no idea how Europe ticks, Sme writes:
"A few days before the start of his presidency, Trump is way off the mark with his ideas about Europe. If he really believes that Germany is an instrument for displacing the US in global trade, he doesn't even know the laws of economics. For a super-successful businessman that's surprising to say the least. The EU isn't just about business, it's also about things like open borders, freedom of travel and cooperation on many levels. About things that have brought Europe an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. If the new president doesn't care what becomes of the EU - the Europeans certainly do... Further proof that he has no idea what's happening in our region is furnished by his statements that he trusts Putin as much as he trusts Merkel, and that Nato is obsolete... And all of this comes from the future leader of the strongest power in the free world." (17/01/2017)
Powerless in the face of global developments - Der Standaard, Belgium
The interview has once again brutally exposed Europe's powerlessness, De Standaard believes:
"Every day it becomes clearer just how powerless Europe is in the face of this inversion of all values. Angela Merkel reacted yesterday by saying that Europe holds its fate in its hands. That is true, but that is precisely the problem. Faced with the challenge of having to guarantee its own security and stability for the first time in 70 years, the Union is completely divided. And that at a time when the risks are increasing on Europe's borders: Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are oozing self-confidence... In Turkey, Erdoğan continues to consolidate his power. The new White House may well leave Syria to Russia and Iran, and the butcher Bashar al-Assad will simply remain in the saddle. Europe must come up with a sharper response to this disturbing reality." (17/01/2017)
The EU can still be a strong superpower - L'Express, France
Europe's domestic and foreign enemies constitute an ominous combination that the Union must thwart in 2017, Jacques Attali writes in L'Express:
"For the three other superpowers this is the ideal year for getting rid of a potential rival. And to that end they will endeavour to join forces with those seeking to dissolve the Union from the inside. Because it's only within Europe that people believe the European Union cannot be the strongest world power of the 21st century. It's only in Europe that people want to revert to limited, provincial territories even though they have the chance to construct a great, democratic and sovereign nation that would be as large as its main rivals... This is the challenge facing Europeans in 2017: to survive the attacks from within and from abroad, the first of which are unintentionally bolstering the second."