Europe News

After Trump’s Iran move, the EU’s chief says it’s now time for ‘Europe to shine’

Key Points
  • Europe is now battling to keep the Iran agreement in place, even without the U.S.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for protection.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, went a step further and argued that Europe cannot accept Trump's decision, but follow its own values.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
Getty Images

In the face of recent decisions taken by President Donald Trump, Europe needs to strengthen its position as a global player, the president of the European Commission said Friday.

Trump decided earlier this week to pull the United States out of an international nuclear accord with Iran. The U.K., Germany and France, who are also part of the agreement, criticized Trump's decision, saying that the deal had been working. Such countries, alongside the European institutions, are now battling to keep the agreement in place, even without the U.S.

"We need more Europe. After all we have seen in the past few days, the world needs to see a strong Europe," Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said at a conference in Florence, Italy, on Friday.

The leaders of Germany and France made a similar point during an event Thursday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for protection.

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"It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands, that's the task of the future," Merkel said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, went a step further and argued that Europe cannot accept Trump's decision, but follow its own values.

"If we accept that other major powers, including allies ... put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy, security for us, and sometimes even make us run the worst risks, then we are not more sovereign and we cannot be more credible to public opinion," Macron said at an event in Germany, Thursday.

In order to make Europe a leader on the global stage, Juncker argued that the 28 EU member states should make further commercial agreements, following on the recent trade deals with Canada and Japan, ensuring export and employment growth.

Juncker also said that there needs to be a new approach to foreign policy, a "problematic" issue in the region. Given the lack of unanimity between the different countries, Juncker argued that foreign policy decisions should be taken by a majority vote, not consensus.