In short: the EU has been seriously crumbling but it looks as if Donald Trump might help it  to get strong again, and Japan will play a role in this game.

A couple of months ago, I wrote here that Trump is playing Divide et Impera. He tries to break or end multilateral pacts by exclusively focusing on bilateral negotiations with single countries being convinced to get better overall deals for America that way.

Cancelling the TPP trade pact, drawing into question NAFTA, and now turning his back on the Paris climate agreement are all proof of this view. This week’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord has been decried as a catastrophe all around the world, be it in Europe, China, Japan, even by a majority of American incl. many U.S. states and cities.

Trump is alienating everybody, and this might be a few too many. While we still witness widespread disbelief and anger about this President and fear about the consequences, we can also detect the first counteractions.

POTUS is no longer dividing other countries. He is actually bringing them closer to each other as they start building a tacit opposition to the current craziness we see in Washington. People in the Netherlands and France voted the way they did, i.e. against Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, also because of the odd developments they had seen in the U.S. under a President Trump.

And we are now observing European leaders aligning against Trump and his policies. There has never been a better case than that of the global climate to unite and present a common global front. Just look at the common statement of Germany, France and Italy right after Trump’s announcement this Thursday.

European leaders are already busy preparing their next step – and it is here that Japan enters the stage. I am convinced we will see the announcement of a EU-Japan EPA (economic partnership agreement) at the G20 Summit upcoming in Hamburg July 7-9.

It is the perfect setting to show to Trump that multilateral-ism is still alive and working.

It may well be that we will look back in a few years and acknowledge that it was last Thursday when Trump crossed the Rubicon and alienated one too many members of the globe.

We will acknowledge then that it was last Thursday when the Europeans finally understood the value of the EU and started to seriously rebuild its basis.

But it will already be in five weeks that  Japan will finally get the nods of the EU administration to go ahead with the EPA that Japan has been wanting so dearly for many years. Not all because but helped by last Thursday. Thank you Mr. Trump.


Jochen Legewie

Jochen Legewie

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