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Trump support for EU is strong, says US vice president

The U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has told senior officials in Brussels that the U.S. wants "deeper ties" with the European Union.

At the Munich security conference over the weekend, onlookers had noted a visible absence of warmth towards the EU from both Pence and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

However in a series of meetings in Brussels Monday, the vice president appeared to up the charm, telling reporters that Donald Trump expressed "the strong commitment of the United States to continue cooperation and partnership with the European Union."

Trump has publically backed Britain's exit from the European Union, leading some to fear that Washington is no fan of the Brussels elite.

Speaking after a morning meeting with EU foreign policy boss Federica Mogherini, Pence said he was "very grateful to have the opportunity to visit with you and explore ways that we can deepen our relationship with the European Union".

Pence then met with European Council President Donald Tusk who said the U.S. envoy had reassured him of the shared values between Europe and North America.

In a statement Monday, Tusk said the words from Pence encouraged him that "reports of the death of West have been greatly exaggerated".

Tusk told reporters that he had asked Pence if he agreed with him on key matters regarding international order, security, and the attitude of the Trump administration towards Europe.

"In reply to these three matters, I heard today from Vice President Pence three times "yes"! After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach," Tusk said.

The merry-go-round of diplomacy continued for Pence who sat in private for an hour with the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Prior to the meeting, Juncker told the gathered press that the U.S. needs a strong EU and that "now is not the time for the EU to divide itself."