Washington: French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Donald Trump to "clarify his position" regarding the European Union, repeatedly the target of the US president's barbs.
"What is certain is that we have some ambiguities, especially when you look at Trump's position regarding Brexit, and the fact that he promotes a hard Brexit," Macron told the New Yorker magazine in interview published Monday.
"I think he has to clarify his position vis-a-vis Europe," he said. The interview was held against the backdrop of recent European elections in which Macron's centrist party, Republic on the Move, finished a close second to Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally.
"What is new at the European scale is that the rise of extremism, especially coming from the far right, is everywhere," Macron said when asked about the outcome.
"A few months ago, a lot of people thought that this new coalition of the far right could have a majority or could block any majority at the European Parliament, which didn't happen," he said.
"This is, for me, one of the positive outcomes of these elections, even if they were very much helped by foreign influences." Asked if he included Trump among those foreign influences, Macron said, "No, because I don't totally assimilate Trump and Bannon." Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, has been actively attempting to form a nationalist alliance in Europe, and Macron recently accused him of seeking "the dismantlement of Europe".
In an interview with NBC that aired over the weekend, the US president was asked about European efforts to keep alive the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran that Trump pulled the US out of last year. "I don't care about the Europeans," Trump said.
"The Europeans are going out and making a lot of money. The Europeans are fine. "And let me tell you, we're very good to Europe. We take care of them. NATO, we spend a tremendous amount, a disproportionate amount. On trade, the European Union's taken, really, they have really taken advantage of us for a long time," he added....