Sylvie Goulard member of the European Parliament and Vice President of United Europe

What consequences for the EU following Donald Trump’s election in the US?

The American people have voted and it is too early to know what Donald Trump will do once he has become President, but it is time for the EU to reflect on the consequences of this vote.

Continue to defend our values

The fact that Trump has won does not sanctify the outrageous positions stated during the campaign. In Europe, and in the US, it is essential that we listen to the fears expressed about globalisation and immigration. We need to make our societies fairer. However there is a certain amount of cynicism at play given that the next American President, a billionaire fond of tax evasion and who suggests reducing both social protection and taxes of the richest in society, has managed to convince the ordinary people that he is on their side. There is a real risk that those who have placed their trust in him, just as it was the case for those who voted in favour of Brexit, will quickly become disillusioned. We should trust that the American people will remain faithful to their values.

Do not give in to nationalist illusions

The xenophobes and sovereignists claim that Donald Trump’s victory confirm their ideas. This is an illusion.

American isolationism would be very dangerous for the EU. If Donald Trump reduces the amount of American military resources in Europe then, given the current geo-political situation at the EU’s external borders, the EU would very quickly become incredibly vulnerable. Who could think that if the Americans withdraw then the EU Member States could credibly defend themselves at the national level? At this point it would be suicidal to undo the EU, rather Donald Trump’s actions could oblige us to accelerate European common defence projects.

American protectionism would create serious problems for European companies. If the US closes its border to international trade and there is less market access for European products then it is in the EU’s interest to be more united. Surely no-one is really naive enough to believe that an individual Member State could singularly resist the extraterritoriality of American law? Or protect the personal data of its citizens? If the dollar were to be used as an economic warfare tool is this really the time to consider abandoning the euro? Donald Trump’s America requires Europe’s heads of state and governments, and candidates to these positions, to deeply reflect upon, and renew, their positions concerning the EU. Hilary Clinton’s defeat should also be a wake-up call to those who have already been on the scene for a long time – experience alone is not sufficient to extinguish this desire for change.

Sylvie Goulard, Member of the European Parliament