BRUSSELS: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told senior European Union officials in Brussels on Monday that the Trump administration was looking at ways to “deepen our relationship” with the EU.
President Donald Trump alarmed EU leaders by endorsing Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and by suggesting last month that other states might follow. Pence spent the weekend in Germany seeking to reassure Europeans that Trump was committed to the NATO defense pact, but left some unconvinced.
Speaking to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini before meetings with the heads of the European Council, European Commission and NATO, Pence said he was “very grateful to have the opportunity to visit with you and explore ways that we can deepen our relationship with the European Union”.
He met Mogherini at the U.S. mission to the EU. The last U.S. ambassador, who was dismissed by Trump as he took office, warned the new administration against reversing decades of postwar U.S. encouragement of European integration and said supporting Brexit was “the height of folly”.
Mogherini told Pence that Europeans and the United States had much to work on and that discussions were already under way.
In a statement, she later said she and Pence had “an open and warm conversation” in which she “reaffirmed a strong willingness of the EU to continue building a strong EU-U.S. partnership on the basis of clear values and interests”.
She said they discussed Syria, Ukraine, Libya, the Middle East, Afghanistan and North Korea among other topics. Mogherini stressed “the need to preserve and fully implement the Iran deal” on controlling Iran’s nuclear developments.