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The EU, headed by France and Germany, could replace US on Mideast

With US President Donald Trump largely working solo on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the EU is preparing its own initiative, which might be launched next fall.

It is no secret that there is a considerable rift between the Donald Trump administration and the European Union. Trump fulfilled his election promises of an “America First” policy, objecting to globalization, regionalization, the European Union, free trade deals and climate change. He vehemently objects European immigration and refugee absorption policies. He does not hide his dislike of Europe’s strong women, namely German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Syria he cooperates mainly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, he largely works solo, in cooperation mainly with Egypt and the Arab Gulf states. He has developed a better personal relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, mainly in order to have a European partner on anti-terror issues.

Brussels has witnessed a major shift in the EU-US relationship in the respective outlooks on economic and security policies. A senior EU official close to Federica Mogherini, the European Union high commissioner for foreign affairs and security policy, told Al-Monitor that given the internal and external situation, Brussels is compelled to develop a more independent foreign policy, including on Middle Eastern issues. Following the Brexit, the EU is headed today mainly by a German-French alliance — Merkel and Macron. With the economic might and influence of the EU in the international arena, Brussels, Berlin and Paris are determined to run an effective and more independent foreign policy.

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