Apparently, at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland Donald Trump, in no uncertain terms, warned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen there will be dire trade consequences for the EU unless the bloc toes Washingtonís line with respect to its maximum pressure policy against Iran. In a speech less than 24 hours later Von der Leyen intimated that heightened tensions in the Middle East and Libya show the EU must develop greater autonomy when it comes to foreign policy.
Amid almost unprecedented US-Iran tensions, some are certainly bowing to Trumpís demands. At a European Parliament foreign affairs committee meeting in Brussels the head of NATO was asked if he would be increasing the military allianceís presence in Iraq, as requested by Trump, despite a decision by the Iraqi parliament for foreign troops to leave the country.
So Trump clearly seems to be successfully calling the shots at EU and NATO level. However, some lawmakers say in reality he is very disliked and more effort should be made to fight his agenda.
But as key EU players Britain, Germany and France appear to be moving further away from the Iran nuclear deal, at the behest of Trump, political commentators are skeptical the bloc can show backbone.
On Friday next week the UK will leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated London will become more closely aligned to Washington rather than Brussels. It is an open question as to whether this might see the 27-country EU strengthen its position against Trump or capitulate even further.