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  • President Donald Trump has said the European Union is bound to break up.

  • So it's not surprising that European leaders here in Brussels worried about the future of the EU when he won the election.

  • But could Trump actually be making the EU stronger?

  • Let's walk through the state of EU politics in the wake of Trump's stunning win.

  • Europe was still grappling with the U.K.'s surprising vote to leave the European Union.

  • Anti-euro nationalist parties were gaining steam here in the Netherlands, here in Italy,

  • and also here in France, with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

  • President Trump seemed to shove the U.S.-EU relationship to the sidelines when he took office.

  • Trump praised the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU after referring to himself as Mr. Brexit.

  • And he seemed to cozy up to President Vladimir Putin despite Russia's ongoing

  • military presence in Ukraine and accusations of Russian meddling in EU elections.

  • He announced the U.S.' intent to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

  • He accused Germany of unfair trade practices.

  • And he chastised NATO allies for not paying their fair share.

  • But Trump's bullying could turn out to be exactly what a fractured EU needed in order to band closer together.

  • Trump's harsh attacks on the European Union's shared policies like climate change, free trade, and defense

  • are forcing EU countries to defend their goals and strengthen ties with other global allies.

  • Across Europe anti-Trump sentiment has begun to build.

  • Voters have rejected some political parties who aligned themselves with the American president.

  • France's Emmanuel Macron rode a huge victory over Le Pen on a pro-EU message.

  • His wins in both the presidential and parliamentary elections convinced large parts of the EU they could go it alone.

  • Macron even flexed his political muscle in an extra-long handshake with President Trump during his first visit to Brussels.

  • The show of strength further emboldened German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • Europe's de facto leader said, "Times in which we can fully rely on others ... are somewhat over."

  • adding,"We Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands."

  • And research backs that up.

  • The majority of Europeans are more confident that Merkel, not Trump, will make the right decisions on world affairs.

  • Europeans are also united on issues like climate change,

  • strongly opposing U.S. withdrawal from joint international policies like the Paris agreement.

  • So Brussels said the EU would move forward on the Paris agreement without the U.S.

  • The EU is also putting up a united front on trade in the face of Brexit.

  • The European Union is striking up trade deals without the U.K. or the U.S., touting the economic influence of a united Europe.

  • The EU and Japan negotiated a major trade deal

  • that could mean cheaper prices for things like pasta or cheese for people in Japan or cheaper cars for drivers here in Europe.

  • Of course, the U.S. is still a crucial market for the European Union with the two economies accounting for nearly a third of world trade flows.

  • EU countries also rely on America for one of its biggest global investments, defense.

  • So Europe is taking its security into its own hands, uniting in the face of antagonism from Russia and ongoing security and cyber threats.

  • The new European Defense Fund aims to generate more than $6 billion per year after 2020

  • to develop more military cooperation across the Union and to fund research for things like drones, robots, or cyber security technology.

  • EU members currently spend about half as much as the U.S. on defense.

  • The initiative is one of the biggest signs Europe is investing in its own strength without the U.S. and without Trump.

President Donald Trump has said the European Union is bound to break up.

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Why is Trump good for the EU? | CNBC Explains

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    kstmasa posted on 2019/01/07
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