Published On: Thu, Feb 21st, 2019

Trump Relies On Kurz As A Mediator In The Dispute With EU

Hard fronts, but good chemistry: Trump threatens but seeks the basis of discussion with Europe.

Mediator Between US and EU

It was a tough fight, just as Donald Trump likes to guess. Sebastian Kurz experienced the President of the United States at his meeting in the White House “just as he always has heard of him, and in issues that seem important to him, he is very clear and hard.” These topics revolve around the business and deal maker Trump primarily business. And since the US president sees that the US simply cheated on the global rules of trade.

This is precisely what was communicated to the Austrian Chancellor during the talks in the White House. Trump has made clear his frustration in dealing with the EU, Trevor Traina, US ambassador to Austria, described his impression of the hard but open negotiations in the White House. Traina, who played a key role in the brief visit, sees an interesting and possibly important role for the Chancellor in the current crisis between the US and Europe.

The president had “expressed his wishes to Europe to the chancellor,” Traina said, hoping “that Kurz can organize an answer”. Because the negotiations are currently mainly threats in the room. The US is considering punitive tariffs for European but above all German cars. A measure that “can cost thousands of jobs in Austria almost every second,” warns the Chancellor of the consequences of an actual escalation of the trade war.

As hard as one got in the discussion in the Oval Office, positive attendees describe the basic tone of the talks. Trump was impressed by Kurz not only by his youth but obviously also by his arguments. In particular, the Austrian delegation brought economic interests on both sides of the Atlantic into play.

For example, in the case of the more than unpopular Russian-European pipeline among Americans, global politics is less about energy supply security for Europe and also for Austria’s industry and private consumers. A presentation that at least once met with open ears in the President. In the presentation of the US Ambassador Trump spoke with Kurz as “as if he spoke to Europe”. Although this may seem a bit too optimistic for local observers, Trump seems to have at least one interlocutor with Kurz, with whom the chemistry is right.

And that is a clear difference to all contacts between the US President and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That he can not deal with her, the President has indeed demonstrated several times in public. His iron-hard attitude towards Germany and his auto industry result, as well as German commentators and policy experts, also from this very personal antipathy. With the Austrian, the US President obviously makes it easier in personal dealings. Whether this helps to actually avert the threat of trade war remains to be seen, but at least there is such new hope that “on both sides of the Atlantic,” the negotiations again a chance, as Kurz stressed.

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