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Estonian MEPs: Trump statements don't amount to much, only actions matter

Yana Toom and Urmas Paet at the 2018 Arvamusfestival in Paide.
Yana Toom and Urmas Paet at the 2018 Arvamusfestival in Paide. Source: ERR

Discussing foreign and security policy on a panel organised by ERR at the 2018 Arvamusfestival, Estonian MEPs Yana Toom (Centre/ALDE) and Urmas Part (Reform/ALDE) stressed that regarding the United States, what counts are actions and not statements by President Donald Trump.

According to Yana Toom, what Trump says doesn't amount to much: "A few weeks ago he patted Putin on the back, but that didn't mean anything," she said, pointing to sanctions against Russia that are still unchanged.

Trump isn't interested in any kind of partnership as such, Toom said. "We're learning our lesson. Every time we think that now we've reached a breakthrough, he tweets the exact opposite. To him this America First thing seems to be the only motivation, we have to see every time what he's trying to gain for himself," she added.

Paet, a former long-time minister of foreign affairs of Estonia, pointed out that the "special chemistry" and "great success" Trump sees in his meetings with other heads of state and government doesn't have to mean much.

"If we look eg. at his meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the US is tightening its sanctions against Russia, after that 'special chemistry'," Paet said. "But important is what actually happens, not what one or the other says."

Member of the European Parliament for Pro Patria and the European People's Party, Tunne Kelam said that Trump is "the result of what is currently happening with Western democracy, not the reason for it."

Both Toom and Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas, who is leaving the European Parliament this month (to be replaced by Igor Gräzin), said that what makes things more difficult for the European states is the fact that there is no single person to talk to.

In other words, if there is any politician or leader who wants to "talk to Europe", there is no single individual they could call. This often complicates negotiations and policy across trade, foreign policy, and security policy issues.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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