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Former EU chief urges Trump to 'adapt to the world'

José Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission, has told CNBC that there should be an adjustment period in which the world must adapt to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and, just as significantly, Trump must adapt to the world.


Barroso, now non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs after serving as the chief of one of the central organizations of the European Union, said that although most countries in Europe would likely not have elected Trump, it is important for the region to respect the decision.

"(Trump) was not the president that most of us in Europe would have voted for, but he has been elected, so I think now we have to adapt to him. At the same time, I believe Donald Trump also has to adapt to the world," he told CNBC on the outskirts of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Tuesday.

"Trump will certainly have to adapt to his office and to some constraints, some realities and some facts of life," Barroso added.

'Biggest economic relationship in the world'

Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States and the brash New York businessman will take his Republican ticket to the White House in January.

Barroso urged for the European continent to do all they can to continue their working relationship with the U.S. as he claimed this economic connection is the most important in the world.

"It would be a big mistake now to try and create an opposition between Europe and the United States. OK, the president-elect in the U.S. was not the favorite in most, or if not almost all, European countries but we have a lot in common. It is by far the biggest economic relationship in the world," Barroso said.

Rocky negotiations?

In regards to the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union, Barroso anticipated extremely difficult and rocky negotiations.

"I'm concerned of course with the decision taken by the British, but I respect it. I mean, the British have decided to leave the European Union so they will most likely leave the European Union."

"I'm anticipating very difficult, bumpy … And sometimes extremely complex negotiations."

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