The EU must respond to U.S. President Donald Trumps aggressive trade tactics by “bullying” him back and putting him “back in his place,” European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said.
Speaking at the opening session of the MacGill Summer School in County Donegal, Ireland on Monday, Hogan recognized that there was “a difference of opinion” in the EU over “whether a softly-softly approach or a more hardline approach” should be taken in response to Trumps tariff threats, because some EU states “have a very strong economic interest” in trading with the U.S.
“Well, Im on the side of the hardline approach,” Hogan said. “Because as you know well, I dont like this softly-softly approach. And you can only deal with someone who is trying to bully you into a certain course of action in an irresponsible way by bullying them back.”
Speaking shortly ahead of Commission President Jean-Claude Junckers visit to the White House on Wednesday, Hogan said that Trumps strategy was “about how he can get some economic advantage from member states by bullying them into a particular result.”
“If the European Union, with its 500 million people stand together … we will ultimately show President Trump the error of his ways,” the Irish commissioner said, adding that a “firm and consistent line” will “put this man back in his place.”
“Because otherwise, he will continue … with all lines of economic activity right across the board if he gets away with this particular course of action,” he said.