The chief finance minister for the euro zone has underlined his optimism for the President Donald Trump administration despite ongoing concerns regarding its protectionist agenda.
"I would be lying if I say I'd be free of worries so yes I worry about it," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told CNBC Saturday when asked about Trump's attitudes.
"Yet the Trump government seems to become more and more realistic and sensible. So let's put out confidence in that," he said, speaking in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.
Trump was elected on a protectionist platform. Since his election a trade deal between Europe and the United States has looked increasingly elusive. And another agreement between North American partners (the so-called NAFTA deal) is at risk of being scrapped. Meanwhile, Trump has already taken the U.S. out of a global deal on climate change – the Paris Accord.
According to Dijsselbloem, who heads up a meeting called the Eurogroup – 19 finance ministers from the nations that share the euro - such a protectionist attitude doesn't match the interests of Europe – a region still very much focused on free trade.
"If the Americans no longer lead the free world then the Europeans should consider taking that lead," he said. He believes that the less internationally friendly approach by the US is "an opportunity for Europe to step further."