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US and EU: Friends or Foes?

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US and EU: Friends or Foes?

The US President has been touring Europe with the First Lady
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Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa via REUTERS
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As President Trump's whirlwind European tour concludes in Finland with a much-anticipated meeting with Russia's President Putin, the US President's controversial remarks on US-EU relations have given European leaders pause for thought.

In an interview following meetings with European allies, President Trump named the EU as one of his biggest foes, ahead of Russia and China.

At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, the question on everyone's lips was: 'is Europe America's foe?'

Is Europe America's Foe?

Referring to perceptions of President Trump's belligerence, France's Foreign Minister said, "It seems that everyone is the enemy, so we need to take his declarations with a pinch of salt."

Meanwhile, the EU's Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, reiterated Europe's alliance with the United States while also pointing out that the EU has "other friends in the world."

The Putin Connection?

One of those 'other friends' might include Russia. That appears to be President Putin's ambition. On Sunday, he stood shoulder to shoulder with two European leaders as the World Cup came to a close, consolidating his aims to move Europe closer to Moscow.

But the EU recently renewed economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, and the Belgian Foreign Minister has reminded the world of Europe's position on that country, referring to Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine and Georgia.

"It's very important for us to reaffirm our solidarity with Ukraine and Georgia, the sovereignty of these two countries, their territorial integrity and to ask Trump to say something to President Putin," Mr Reynders said.

As the Presidents of Russia and the United States meet, Europe finds itself in an uneasy position. On issues such as trade, climate change and the Iran deal, the EU appears to be closer to the Kremlin than to the White House.