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Maneuvering my way through the throng of participants at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of leaders, diplomats, and defense and security experts, I popped this question: What does U.S. President Donald Trump mean for Europe? Respondents were asked to sum up their thoughts in about 20 words.
Michel BarnierEuropean Commission chief negotiator with the UK and special adviser on security policy to the president of the European Commission
For the last sixty years, every American president has supported European unity because it was also in the interests of the United States.
Franziska BrantnerMember the German Bundestag
We have to go back to the fundamentals that we stand for.
Elmar BrokMember of the European Parliament
A united Europe also strengthens the United States. And the United States has always safeguarded our democracy and the rule of law.
Nicholas BurnsGoodman Family professor of the practice of diplomacy and international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School
For the first time since Trump, we don’t know if the American president supports the EU project or NATO.
Oleksandr ChalyiFormer first deputy foreign minister of Ukraine
Europe will be more independent and responsible for European security and Europe’s future.
Charles GrantDirector of the Centre for European Reform
Trump means that Europe has to take responsibility for the rules-based, liberal global order.
Nathalie JareskoChair of the board of trustees at the Aspen Institute Kyiv and former minister of finance of Ukraine
Kersti KaljulaidPresident of Estonia
He is the president of the United States. We have just been speaking with U.S. Vice President [Mike] Pence along with the other Baltic states.
Roula KhalafDeputy editor of the Financial Times
Trump is going to discover very soon that Europe is his most reliable and stable ally.
Charles KupchanProfessor of international affairs at Georgetown University
Trouble. I’m hopeful that he will gravitate to more conventional positions on European security and the importance of NATO. But I worry that he will remain indifferent if not hostile toward the project of European integration.
Michael SchaeferChairman of the board of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt
Trump is a wake-up call for Europe to grow up.
Javier SolanaFormer secretary general of NATO and former EU high representative for common foreign and security policy
He is the first president of the United States who defends the opposite of those who represent multilateralism.
Photo by Munich Security Conference / Mueller