The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini expressed her views on Trump election and the EU-Turkey relationship in an interview for Channelling Brussels.
Mogherini took the chance to reassure Teri Schultz that the ties between the Unites States of America and the European Union will not be negatively affected by the election of Donald Trump to the position of President of the United States.
On Trump Election
The US- EU relationship is not a matter of concern for the Commission’s Vice-President, which she defines now as “much deeper than any political turn.”
“We will have the responsibility to make this work” stressed Mogherini.
“We also know as Europeans that sometimes, what you do and what you say in an electoral campaign is different than what you do as a President and we will have to see what happens from 21st of January in Washington” highlighted Mogherini, in an attempt to downplay the concerns raised by the outcome of the elections.
“When the world will be looking at Europe, my impression is that also across the Atlantic the attention on Europe will grow, and we will have to be able to live up to this responsibility, establishing good ties with the new US administration when it will come in.”
Mogherini also highlighted the results that have been achieved through the mutual cooperation, especially with the precedent administration. “We still believe very strongly that the interests of the European and the American people are very much the same, and so we see the need to continue to work together.”
“I cannot hide and I do not hide [that] we worked incredibly well with the [Obama] administration, in particular on the many different crises that we have around us but also on the big global issues like climate change, the sustainable development goals and the Iran deal”.
On EU strength
The European Union Foreign Policy Chief explained that a Trump election does not necessarily entail negative forecast for the future, and urged a change in mindset in analyzing the situation.
“Europe has to rediscover his strength, and I would even say its greatness in this moment. What I see is always that Europeans and EU is much more appreciated from the outside than from the inside. Maybe this is the right chance for us to realize how much power we have, to role we should play, and this can be based only in a united confident EU. So I see this also as an opportunity for Europeans to come together in a much stronger way, to be more self-confident, to work more on their global profile.”
Mogherini named some concrete actions to strengthen the role of Europe globally. “I presented some options on how to work more on the EU defense for instance, in complementarity with NATO. We have to use more our tools.”
When asked if she was disappointed about not seeing finally a woman as President of the US, Mogherini was confident that there will be other possibilities ahead.
“America has already managed to break an important glass ceiling, probably more than glass ceiling electing Barack Obama as the first black American president, and American stays that great country that managed to show the way toward emancipation and equality”.
When asked whether she would feel awkward meeting President Trump knowing the things he said about women, Mogherini laughed and replied: “I am Italian… we have seen it all!”
On EU-Turkey relationship
After the publication of the Commission report on the state of play of EU-Turkey accession talks, Mogherini expresses serious worries and concerns about the current situation in Turkey.
“We have very worried, we have been talking about this concerns constantly with Turkish authorities, I was even this morning (last Wednesday) on the telephone with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu… We work day and night to try to guarantee that the rule of law, human rights, the independence of the judiciary, media freedom, all the standards that are required not only to be a member of the EU or a candidate country but also for being a member of the Council of Europe – which Turkey is – are respected in the country”.
Mogherini also excluded categorically any harsh tone behind the curtains in dealing the issue.
“The guiding lines of my work in this respect in these days is passing a very clear and united European message to our Turkish friends. They have to understand that this is the entire European Union, and not just one or two officials or ministers, with its institutions and its 28 member states that are asking Turkey where does it want to go. If Turkey intentions are still that of being close of the EU and the end of the process member of the European Union than their daily choices have to be consequent.”
When asked about the possible consequences of this situation, Mogherini said that Turkey remains a partner for working on common shared issues like Syria and Cyprus, or in tackling the refugee crisis, and that currently there are not going to be any repercussion on the membership talks.
“The EU is not going to take its relationship with Turkey only under the angle of the refugee crisis. For us, basic and fundamental are the respect of human rights and the rule of law. Is now up to turkey to tell us which direction is up to take. I am not worried about the migration deal, for the moment is holding. Priority number one for me in this moment is the work we can do together for Syria and the work we are doing together on Cyprus.” concluded Mogherini