Peter Beyer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the German government’s transatlantic coordinator, launched a scathing attack on the bloc over a disagreement with Washington over agriculture. US President Donald Trump has demanded agriculture be part of a trade agreement with the EU and has refused to back down unless his demands are met. Likewise, Brussels will not budge either, resulting in a blockade all too familiar to Britons battling Europe for a better Brexit deal.
Though Mr Beyer’s words were aimed at the EU, President Trump did not get off too lightly either.
He said: “The appeal is directed at both negotiating partners: not to use or abuse this issue of agriculture that is hanging over everything as a blockade.
“It looks like an unsolvable situation, but it can be solved through common sense. We can at least start the formal process by excluding the topic for now, and then harvest some low-hanging fruit.
“Then we’ll see what happens.”
Mr Beyer said France, Germany and other European states might ultimately have to subordinate their national interests for the sake of a broader deal for Europe.
He added: “If Europe does not want to make itself weaker than it already is, then it must let European Realpolitik prevail.
“If we truly see Europe as a whole, then national interests, while understandable, may have to be put aside to some extent for the greater European good.”
He also made reference to a 15-year-old dispute on aircraft subsidies between the EU and US, adding movement on the issue would boost confidence on both sides.
He said: “But I don’t know if it will happen.”
The EU this month said it was open to talks with Washington in the dispute over mutual claims of subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.
The WTO has found that the world’s two largest plane-makers received billions of dollars of harmful subsidies in a pair of cases marking the world’s largest-ever corporate trade dispute.
The US and EU have each threatened to impose billions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs, with Washington first in line to seek tariffs under the WTO timetable. Late last year, President Trump slapped 25 percent tariffs on EU products as part of a trade stand-off with Brussels, who did the same adding levies on popular American products such as Levi jeans and Harley Davidson motorbikes.