How can Juncker prevent a trade war?
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is due to arrive in Washington today for talks with Donald Trump in a bid to avoid a trade war between the US and the EU. Europe's media offer their advice as to how he can hold his own against the US president.
Jean-Claude should do a Donald
EU Commission President Juncker must make Trump aware of how much power the EU wields, L'Opinion writes:
“Contrary to what it believes, the EU is in a position of power. As the world's biggest economic power and biggest saver - and consequently a major potential investor - at its second-largest exporter, it needn't hide its face in negotiations. The fine recently imposed on Google is proof of this. The problem, however, is that Juncker isn't the president of a large country but the chief administrator of a heterogenous coalition. As for the EU's agenda, it has long been outdated. Nonetheless let's hope that Jean-Claude 'does a Donald', and flexes his muscles before he sits down to talk.”
Don't just think of the German carmakers!
For Diena it's clear whose interests Juncker is representing in Washington:
“Juncker will effectively adopt Berlin's position when he goes to Washington. Germany is willing to give in on a few less important points in order to avert the dangers for its carmakers on whose products Trump wants to slap a 20-percent import tariff. ... But the EU isn't just Germany. And Germany's interests are not synonymous with the interests of the entire EU. At least some of the European states will regard the solutions Juncker offers as unfavourable.”
Commission president can turn the tables
Juncker should take Trump by his word and surprise him with a free trade initiative, Handelsblatt recommends:
“Instead of threatening more and more tariffs the goal would be to reduce trade barriers. This would not only point the transatlantic debate in a new, constructive direction. The global economy would also benefit. The spectre of a trade war would be banished for the time being and the economy would receive a new boost. ... The Europeans don't have a real alternative. In an escalating trade war everyone would lose out, but Europe more than America. And Germany probably more than the rest. Trump fancies himself in the role of creative destroyer and is hounding the Europeans with his constant provocations. Now Juncker can turn the tables on him.”
Last chance to restore the balance
The meeting between Juncker and Trump is a focus of international attention, journalist Cristian Unteanu writes in his blog with Adevărul:
“The leaders of China and Russia are following the meeting avidly and with amusement, as they are now in a position to decide the future of the world: the internal transatlantic conflict has opened up significant strategic options for them in the Middle and Far East, Africa and South America. ... After the meeting [between Trump and Putin] in Helsinki, this could be the last chance to restore the balance in the relations between Washington and Brussels. Because November 4 - the day the US plans to impose global sanctions on all countries and companies that import oil from Iran - won't be long in coming.”
Perfidious attempts to sow disunity
Diena hopes that Juncker will fight for his continent in Washington:
“The US is trying to lure the leading European states into signing separate bilateral agreements on economic cooperation and sidestepping Europe's common structures. ... Not for nothing did Juncker let it be known that the US would not succeed in breaking the unity of the EU. Because in the long term this separatism would be catastrophic or fatal for the idea of a united Europe of which Juncker is the most prominent representative. Hopefully the EU Commission president will fight for Europe's interests 'right down to the last cartridge' in Washington.”
EU can't afford a trade war
Business journalist Wolfgang Münchau warns against a conflict with the US in the Financial Times:
“Trade is not an issue on which the interests of member states are aligned. Germany and the Netherlands would be more affected by US tariffs than France or Italy. ... The EU should consider the words of Carl von Clausewitz, the German military historian, who advised against war unless you can expect to win it, have a strategy to end it, and the ability to maintain public support throughout. I do not believe the Europeans fulfil any of these criteria.”
Europe in a good negotiating position
The EU has good cards in the trade war with the US, Turun Sanomat believes:
“Trump's main opponent in the trade war is likely to be China, which he accuses of being responsible for the US trade deficit and of unfair competition. Although Trump has claimed that trade wars are easy to win he perhaps isn't keen on fighting on several fronts. ... Meanwhile the EU is strengthening its cooperation with other countries. On Tuesday the EU and Japan signed a free trade agreement. ... Trade agreements have been negotiated with Canada, Mexico and South Korea. Europe's increasingly strong position represents a clear threat to the US's economic goals. Therefore it's important for it to reach an agreement with the EU.”