Are May's good ties with Trump dangerous for EU?

At their meeting in Washington US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May stressed the common ground between their countries. Trump announced that the Brexit will be "fantastic", while May emphasised the importance of a bilateral trade agreement. Commentators warn that the British PM's visit should sound alarm bells for the EU.

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Adevărul (RO) /

A siren call for other exit candidates

Trump's statement about helping May to make Brexit "a great thing" could encourage other countries to leave the EU, writes journalist Christian Unteanu on his blog with Adevărul:

“Trump's message is simple and clear: the trade agreements between the two countries are still in effect after Brexit. … The talks were about scrapping customs duties on British food exports and agricultural products in the US and about the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. … Is this just about the bilateral ties between the UK and the US? Or is it also sending the message that the agreements between Washington and London can set a precedent for other countries that want to leave the EU? … Could such bilateral agreements become a temporary refuge for those countries that want to secure their economic survival immediately after exiting the EU?”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Trump visit a trump in Brexit talks

In meeting Donald Trump May has sent a clear message to Brussels, author and historian Sergio Romano writes in Corriere della Sera:

“When she was in Washington Theresa May tried to show Brussels that Britain holds certain trumps that the other countries of the EU don't possess. ... Yes, she distanced herself from Trump regarding relations with Putin and the entry ban for Muslims. But she implicitly accorded him the role that the United States has enjoyed in international politics since the end of the Second World War. The message for Brussels and the other EU capitals is clear: only Britain can get Trump to act less unreasonably, only Britain can revive European-Atlantic solidarity. ... Of course London's fateful intervention will have its price. ... Europeans will have to pay it when London demands that some of the privileges it was granted in the context of the Union should remain in place.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

PM could end up as lapdog

The British prime minister urgently needs good relations with the new US president, Süddeutsche Zeitung explains:

“It is essential for May to show that the UK still has powerful allies after the Brexit. This is why she wanted to get to Washington as quickly as possible, and she will do all she can to keep Trump in a good mood. … One problem May could face is that Trump knows she needs him and he will gleefully make full use of this knowledge in any negotiations on a trade deal. But May has no choice. Brexit means she can't afford to alienate Trump. Theresa May can be hard and resolute, and she surely doesn't fear the president. But there is a very real possibility that she will follow in the footsteps of Tony Blair and end up as Trump's lapdog. Whatever the case, it's clear that the relationship between these two politicians will be a very special one.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Nothing but misunderstandings from day one

May shouldn't entertain any hopes of a romance between her and the US head of government, writes De Volkskrant:

“The Brexiteers see May's prompt visit to Trump as a triumph, but the prime minister has been warned. Friends and foes have pointed out that sabotaging global trade is Trump's main goal. The very same global trade the British talk so much about. … May voiced the hope that she would be able to build a friendly, influential working relationship with the controversial president. As a sign of her good will she made him a gift of a Quaich, a traditional Scottish cup for drinking whisky and brandy that signifies friendship. It's just a pity that Trump is anti-alcohol.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

London has always bet on the wrong horse

In her speech in Philadelphia Theresa May stressed the historic importance of the special relationship between Britain and the US. A frantic attempt to curry favour with Washington, author and historian Ian Buruma writes in Corriere della Sera:

“May's statements betray desperation, and even panic. The decision in favour of Brexit has weakened Britain. The pound is in a tailspin, the banks are getting ready to leave the City and the EU partners are threatening the UK with tough terms. ... Long before Brexit the British were already extremely ambivalent about the EU and preferred to cling to their 'special relationship' with America. So instead of becoming one of the most important European powers, Britain has doggedly insisted on remaining America's little sister.”

The Times (GB) /

May must try to be a positive influence

In her meeting with Trump the British prime minister should stress the common ground between their countries, The Times advises:

“It would be unacceptable for Nato to be weakened on Mr Trump’s watch, or for decades of progress towards global free trade to be undone. Mrs May should say so, forcibly. She can maximise her chances of success by identifying common ground early on. Britain spends 2 per cent of its GDP on defence and agrees with Mr Trump that every Nato member should do the same. The UK also agrees that victory is essential in the West’s long struggle against Islamist terrorism. … She has a chance to create a new hotline to the White House and use it to bolster American support for the western alliance against a resurgent Russia and for free trade over protectionism.”