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   France says Europe must toughen up, protect itself after Trump victory

France says Europe must toughen up, protect itself after Trump victory

REUTERS
Published : Nov 9, 2016, 4:31 pm IST
Updated : Nov 9, 2016, 4:31 pm IST

France is a key American ally, and its officials had in recent weeks openly endorsed Hillary Clinton's warnings against Trump.

  Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become . (Photo: AP)
  Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become . (Photo: AP)

France is a key American ally, and its officials had in recent weeks openly endorsed Hillary Clinton's warnings against Trump.

Europe must not flinch in defending its interests and people now that Donald Trump's election win has added to the uncertainty created by Britain's decision to exit the European Union, France's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

 

France is a key American ally, and its officials had in recent weeks openly endorsed Hillary Clinton's warning that Trump's "confused" foreign policy objectives were alarming for the rest of the world.

"We have to meet the challenge for a Europe that must be able to better defend its citizens and its interests," Ayrault told France 2 television.

"Europe cannot blink after Brexit, after the election of Donald Trump with all the questions being raised, Europe must stand together more, be more active and go more on the offensive even if it is just to protect itself."

France has been reeling in the wake of several deadly attacks claimed by Islamic State militants since last year. Trump's comment in July that "France is no longer France", and that if it had looser gun laws then the attacks would not have happened, have upset French officials.

 

"The United States is our ally and we have to continue working with it in clarity," Ayrault said. "Perhaps Trump will not keep the promises he made, but you see the relations he has with Mexico, it's very serious. In China, they are worried, so France and Europe must play a role to reassure."

Trump's campaign has been marked by insults and inflammatory rhetoric with regard to radical Islam, while on international affairs he has brought into question U.S. policy on everything from Syria to Iran, Mexico and North Korea.

Ayrault, whose country has been critical of Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East in particular, said Trump would need to explain his stance on key issues such as the conflict in Syria, world powers' nuclear deal with Iran, and climate change.

 

However, he reiterated that Europe had to think of itself first, and said eastern Europe especially should worry about a potential U.S. disengagement on the continent under Trump, given Russia's presence on its frontier.

"Donald Trump said he wanted to ... stop paying for NATO, so countries like Poland need to ask themselves (what this means)," Ayrault said. "Rather than lowering our heads, we must rise to the challenge."