Trump uses tour to rebuild ties with Europe as domestic difficulties mount

By Fu Jing in Brussels(
Updated: 2017-05-25 00:02:44

Faced by increasing political difficulties at home, American President Donald Trump is expected to take his tour of Europe as a chance to rebuild his ties with the region as he landed in Brussels late on Wednesday after a half-hour private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican.

US President Donald Trump (R) walks with King Philippe of Belgium at the Palace in Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

Amid tight security in Brussels after Monday's Manchester bombing, an extra 4,000 police have been stationed in Brussels, where Trump is scheduled to meet Belgian King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, US President Donald Trump will meet European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the Europa building in Brussels.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and High Representative Federica Mogherini will join the latter half of the one-hour scheduled meeting. The European Union has called the meeting with Trump a leaders' meeting, instead of a full-on summit.

"The United States needs the EU. This is an opportunity for Trump to build trust, given that his improper rhetoric towards the EU during his election campaign," Shi Zhiqin, professor of department of international relations of Tsinghua University told China Daily.

Trump had previously called Brussels as a "hellhole," and also criticized NATO during the election, which have caused unstable factors in the cross-Atlantic partnership.

"I believe his tune will be changed during his visit and Trump must ease concerns among the Europeans," said Shi.

Trump will be attending the NATO leaders' summit on Thursday afternoon before he heads to Italy to participate in a G7 summit, which will be held on Friday and Saturday.

The theme of the Italian G7 presidency in 2017 is "Building the foundations of renewed trust." The agenda includes citizen safety, economic, environmental and social sustainability, reduction of inequalities innovation, skills and labor in the age of the next production revolution.

Elke Fimmen, senior researcher at the Schiller Institute in Germany, has urged the leaders from the West to change their old paradigm of dialogues during the summits to fit into the changed global situation to achieve common peace and prosperity.

"One dominating dynamic worldwide is wide acceptance of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative and when leaders meet, they must know that the win-win cooperation for joining global economic development is essential," said Fimmen.

Fimmen said now the Europe is facing a crisis, the Belt and Road Initiative has served as the new paradigm for the future development, which is very helpful for European development.

"We should adjust our policies into this new paradigm and I think the present EU policies are not adequate to change the problems," said Fimmen.

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