Nervous Europe likes what it is hearing from VP

Nervous Europe likes what it is hearing from VP
© Greg Nash

European leaders like what they’re hearing from Vice President Pence in Brussels.

European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday said he had left his discussions with Pence feeling better about U.S. support for NATO and a united Europe.

“Too much has happened over the past month in your country, and in the E.U. Too many new and sometimes surprising opinions have been voiced over this time about our relations, and our common security, for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be,” Tusk said, according to a White House pool report.

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“Today I heard words which are promising for the future, words which explain a lot about the approach of the new administration in Washington,” Tusk continued.

Pence has sought to assure Europe that the U.S. remains committed to the trans-Atlantic alliance during meetings with officials from the European Union, many of who have been unnerved by comments from President Trump.

Trump repeatedly criticized NATO during his campaign, at times suggesting the U.S. might withdraw from the alliance.

The president’s views on international trade have also caused waves. Trump argues the U.S. has repeatedly got the raw end of trade deals and has promised to be a stronger negotiator.

Pence’s comments were conciliatory, and emphasized a continued U.S. partnership with Europe.

He said he was delivering on behalf of Trump the “strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union.”

“Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same marriage, the same values, and above all, the same purpose — to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” Pence said. “And to those objectives, we will remain committed.”

Pence also vowed to work with Europe in the fight against terrorism.

“We seek to take measures and we call on the European community to join with the United States in continuing to intensify our efforts to counter radical Islamic terrorism here on the continent,” he said. “This will require greater coordination and intelligence sharing among EU member states and between the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And let me assure you, the United States is committed to continuing and expanding our collaboration on the collective security of all of our peoples.

“The safety and security of your union and our people depends on that increased collaboration in the global fight against terrorism and the United States will remain a full partner with the EU and all of our European allies to accomplish that,” Pence said.

Pence also offered reassuring words on Russia.

“In the wake of Russian efforts to redraw international borders by force we will continue to support efforts in Poland and the Baltic states through NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative and with regard to Ukraine, the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable and demand that Russia honor the Minsk agreements beginning by deescalating the violence in Eastern Ukraine,” Pence said

At the same time, Pence also said that while the U.S. will hold Russia accountable for its actions, it is also searching for “new ways for new common ground with Russia, which President Trump believes can be found.”