Trump says the European Union was 'formed in order to take advantage of the United States'

Associated PressPresident Donald Trump during his speech Tuesday.
  • President Donald Trump has claimed the European Union was formed to take advantage of the US.
  • His comments came during a lengthy campaign-style speech Tuesday in the White House’s Rose Garden that covered a series of unrelated topics, including military spending, illegal immigration, and his friendship with Mexico’s president.
  • The EU was conceived as a means of promoting trade links as well as fostering political cooperation to put an end to the bloody European conflicts that had characterised the first half of the 20th century.
  • Trump has previously called the EU, a major US ally, one of the country’s biggest foes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the European Union was formed to take advantage of the US and argued that the US’s European allies had “never treated us well.”

His comments came during a long campaign-style speech covering a series of unrelated topics in the White House’s Rose Garden.

The event had been billed as an announcement of new actions on China, but Trump instead spoke for roughly an hour about military spending, illegal immigration, and his friendship with Mexico’s president while launching attacks on Joe Biden.

When he turned to talk about Europe, he said: “Don’t forget we’re in competition with China, and with many other countries throughout the world. We’re in tremendous economic competition, including Europe, which has never treated us well.”

“The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of the United States,” he said. “Formed to take advantage of the United States. I know that. They know I know that, but other presidents had no idea.”

The earliest iteration of what is now called the European Union was formed in 1950, in the aftermath of World War II, when Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands formed the European Coal and Steel Community.

The organisation was intended to promote trade links as well as foster political cooperation to put an end to the bloody European conflicts that had characterised the first half of the 20th century.

Trump has often criticised multilateral institutions such as the 27-member EU, which he’s accused of seeking to undermine the US by operating as a single trading bloc.

In 2018, he identified the EU, a major US ally, as one of the country’s biggest foes. “Well, I think we have a lot of foes,” he told CBS News. “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.”

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