Hollande: "There Are Challenges From The New US Administration"

While France has so far managed to avoid falling into Trump's attention span, that may change after French President Francois Hollande said the Trump administration was proving a “challenge” for Europe, according to AFP.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to speak by phone with Donald Trump tomorrow, Hollande said “to be honest, there are challenges from the new US administration; challenges regarding rules of commerce, regarding the way we think conflicts across the world should be solved."

“Of course, we need to speak to Donald Trump, because he was elected by the US [citizens] to be their president, but we should speak to him from the European point of view, promoting our interests and values.”

Hollande also warned that Europe is under internal threat of populism: “Let's speak honestly, what threatens Europe doesn't come from outside,” he said. “It's the rise of extremism, which uses outside [forces] to create internal division. And facing the internal threat of populism, one should address the people, and tell them that their interests, values, their future are connected with what we decide here, in Europe and for Europe."

Merkel echoed the statement by her French colleague, saying that “Europe faces big internal and external challenges which we ... can only master by working together.”

“We need a clear, common commitment to the European Union, to what we have accomplished, and to the values of our liberal democracies,” she added.

It is certain that the rise of "populist" forces in her own Germany will be one of the topics touched upon when Merkel speaks to Trump tomorrow.

Hollande's caution about the Trump admin followed a statement by his Finance Minister, Michel Sapin, who when discussing Theresa May's visit with Trump on Friday said yesterday that“Madame May can go see whoever she wants. I understand she goes to see the new U.S. president given the history between the U.S. and the U.K" However, he added, "she is not going there to negotiate," Sapin says in interview in Brussels. "Neither she nor Mister Trump are in a position to negotiate. It’s a courtesy visit."

Both May and Trump will look forward to proving him wrong.