Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home Members Nick Prag Europe first

Europe first

Posted by Nick Prag at 19 January 2017, 18:10 CET |

In a week in which U.S. president Donald Trump starts work on "making American great again", Europe debated its own future in the European Parliament this week.

Brexit, EU relations with the US and Russia, migration, economic and social progress, and the defence union were the key political challenges for 2017 debated by MEPs on Wednesday.

With America lurching towards the right, with a new president taking office whose views on women, Mexicans, Muslims, climate change, NATO and Russia are well-known, and with Britain continuing on a path towards "calamitous self-harm", using Mrs May's own words in her speech this week, Euro-MPs took time to look at Europe's own values and future direction. 

On America, 20 January is a turning point - both for the EU-US relationship and inside the EU - said Guy Verhofstadt MEP, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. The lesson for Europe is that it can  no longer rely on the US, he said, and it needs to  "speed up the building of a Defence Union and invest more in its common border and coast guards".

On Britain, Manfred Weber MEP, of the EPP Group, asked: “Who will pay for the tax deficits that will result from the dumping plans of the UK government? In the end, ordinary people."

In relation to the US, he added:"We also have powerful tools, like state aid rules. If in the US they say ‘America first’, than we have every right to say ‘Europe first."

Commissioner Jyrki Katainen advocated deepening the single market in the field of defence, increasing the number of joint military purchases, helping third countries to fight migrant smugglers, and making EU societies more socially resilient.

"Europe's fate is in our hands," he replied to comments about Mr Trump and the future of US-EU relations. "Let’s not let others define what Europe is about,” he added, stressing that EU institutions must represent “common sense” and focus on delivering more prosperous and secure Europe.


Document Actions
Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.