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Europe looks to take lead as US relationship takes turn for worse

Europe looks to take lead as US relationship takes turn for worse
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By Robert Hackwill
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With Washington proving something of an unreliable ally of late, the EU is looking at its own diplomacy and how it can occupy the world stage, without its big brother across the Atlantic.

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Once again declarations made by the US president have elbowed their way onto Europe's political agenda, with Donald Trump threatening import duties on cars. Belgium's Foreign Minister says two possible paths now lead to Washington.

"Either we get an exemption for these measures for Europe, we are exonerated and can continue working in a positive direction on the commercial front, or this doesn't happen and Europe has to retaliate and defend itself. We cannot accept being attacked sector by sector," said Didier Reynders.

European industrial leaders are in Brussels for a two-day summit on the role and strength of Europe's political clout on the international stage. For the EU's foreign policy chief the 28 members can weigh on global decision-making.

"We do have the instruments, we do have the capacity to do things that have a direct impact on the global scene. The X in the equation is the political will. We managed on defense when the political will was there, in the capitals mostly. So we managed to do our job and to deliver, including on the expectation of our partners," said Federica Mogherini.

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