EU ministers reaffirm Iran deal, seek more regional security

Published 10:20 am Monday, November 14, 2016

BRUSSELS — Top EU diplomats are calling for more robust European defense and a greater European voice in world affairs as Donald Trump — whose isolationist, protectionist promises have worried many in Europe — prepares to assume the U.S. presidency.

With many question marks around Trump’s foreign policy plans, EU foreign ministers agreed Monday at talks in Brussels on the need to strengthen Europe’s role in world affairs until the future of trans-Atlantic relations becomes clearer.

The top diplomats were set to join defense ministers later to discuss cooperation with NATO, whose future is uncertain after Trump suggested that Washington could abandon its NATO commitments, which include mutual defense in case of an attack.

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“The European Union is a superpower,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters. She said Monday’s discussions were not about an “EU army” as such, but about “a European Union security and defense that becomes more credible than it is today, more effective than it is today.”

Noting EU defense activities that are already operating, like anti-smuggling operations and U.N. peacekeeping, she said, “We have a lot of potential that we don’t utilize yet. There is a need to strengthen our security profile. It’s what our citizens need.”

“We are in an uncertain world, and it has not started with the election of Mr. Trump,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. “But Europe must not wait for others’ decisions, it must defends its own interests — that is to say the interest of Europeans — and at the same time reaffirming its strategic role on the global level.”