EU delegation bemoans Trump's 'harmful approach' after ambassador status downgrade

The European Union delegation for United States relations wrote to members of Congress on Wednesday to criticize the Trump administration's approach to diplomacy with the longtime U.S. ally, The Associated Press reported.

The delegation urged the two sides not to "undermine each other" and warned of "the increasingly harmful approach from the White House" toward relations with the EU, the AP reported. The letter further cites the president's praise of more nationalist figures and governments over governing bodies like the EU.

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“Such moves play into the hands of rival global powers and can only lead to greater fragmentation rather than much needed increased cooperation,” the letter said, according to the AP.

The letter was sent a short time after it was reported that the U.S. had downgraded the EU ambassador’s diplomatic status.

The demotion took the EU from a member state, which it had been recognized as for years, to an international organization, which the U.S. ranks lower than it does countries.

“The Trump administration could not have chosen a worse moment to attack the EU,” Marietje Schaake, the vice-chairwoman of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with the United States, told the AP.

Schaake told the news outlet that the two sides would be better served focusing on common issues emanating from Iran, China and Russia.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE has had an at-times rocky relationship with the European Union and other longtime U.S. allies, roiling international leaders. The president has taken a hard line against the EU over its economic policies, labeling the European governing body a "foe" in an interview last year.

The Trump administration levied tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, which prompted retaliatory measures from the bloc. The two sides have since agreed to discuss a more extensive trade deal.