The EU leadership both at headquarters and in its main member states have become disillusioned with US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. After Trump’s March 17 meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Feb. 9 meeting with Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, it is clear to both Berlin and Brussels that on the main international agenda issues, the EU will have to develop an independent foreign policy. As an independent policy, it will not depend on US approval, but only on coordination with Washington. A senior EU official close to Mogherini told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that while the EU still sees the United States as the leader of the Western world, it is concerned about America’s growing isolationism and significant policy differences on key issues such as Russia, climate change, free trade and the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
With Brexit, a new European coalition is emerging that will be the main contributor to the shaping and defining of EU foreign and Middle East policy. This coalition will include Germany, France and the EU headquarters in Brussels. But the character of this coalition will ultimately depend on the identity of the next French president — be it Emmanuel Macron or Francois Fillon.