(Credits: Images/European Union-EP)
New York: The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, yesterday called on recognizing China as the "trade enemy in common" of both the European Union and the United States, demonstrating a tough stance towards Nicolas Maduro and the crisis in Venezuela. However, America and Europe still seem to be too distant from each other.
Mr. Tajani, a member of the conservative European People's Party, nominated president in January 2017, has just concluded an official visit to the United States where he met with US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC on Wednesday.
Following his trip to Washington, DC, he joined over fifty European companies on Thursday in New York, along with Italy-American Chamber of Commerce members, for a breakfast meeting. He also paid tribute to the victims of the attacks on the Twin Towers at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Then, he met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take stock of the situation in Venezuela, North Korea, the Mediterranean region and Gaza stripe, and to discuss climate change.
President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani pays tribute to the victims of the attacks on the Twin Towers at the 9/11 Memorial, New York (Credits: Davide Mamone)
After the recent threat of the Trump administration regarding new tariffs on European automobiles and parts, one of the goals of Mr. Tajani's visit was to secure the trans-Atlantic partnership between the EU and the US in order to avoid chances of further imposed duties.
"We need to understand that we have a common enemy on the trade market and that enemy is China," President Tajani said to the Italian media Thursday morning at the Intesa San Paolo Headquarters in the Financial District in Manhattan.
"Europe and America are two historical partners. Many American companies acknowledge that and even today they believe in us," Tajani added.
For the President of the European Parliament, stakeholders across the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean need to keep talking. "We all have to be more ‘Italian’ in behavior, but very determined regarding the matters at hand," he said.
President Tajani joined over fifty European companies on Thursday in New York. (Credits: Davide Mamone)
However, after Bloomberg.com reported last week that the EU is ready to target American corporations such as Caterpillar, Xerox Corp, and Samsonite International SA if Trump hits European cars with tariffs, "Italian manners" may not be enough to soften tensions.
And the only way to face Trump’s “America First” agenda could be a counter-threat.
"Imposing new duties on European cars would force the European Union to impose new actions on American products," President Tajani admitted. To avoid that, he remarked emphasizing the constructive meeting he had with US Secretary Ross on Wednesday that, "we need to re-open the talks and we have to convince the Americans of our ideas."
If with regard to the trade market the EU and US are still distant, there is one issue where the Trump administration and the European Parliament seem to be harmoniously in agreement: the crisis in Venezuela.
On a day when the United Nations Security Council in New York failed to adopt either a resolution advanced by the United States or a second resolution proposed by the Russian Federation, President Tajani remarked that "the world doesn't need a military solution in the region."
President Tajani attends the press conference on Thursday at the United Nations in New York.
(Credits: Davide Mamone)
"But we have to be very clear: Maduro's time is over. We are sick and tired of him making fun of the international community," Tajani strongly attacked during a press conference at the UN late on Thursday, after his meeting with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"We need to work for new elections in Venezuela: the European Parliament wants to operate to achieve a solution and for this reason, we consider Juan Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela," he added.
But the European Union does not seem to be united enough regarding the crisis in Venezuela.
Although the European Parliament recognized last month Juan Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela by a large majority (439 votes in favor, 104 against and 88 abstentions), still not all top EU countries agreed to do so.
In fact, Italian members of the EU Parlament from the North League and the Five Star Movement, the two political parties that represent the majority and support the government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, abstained.
And many European parliamentarians are worried regarding this disagreement.
On one side, a divided European Union could give legitimacy to Nicolas Maduro using strong measures to protect its power. "It is unacceptable that Italy got a thank you message from a heinous dictator like Maduro," President Tajani said at the UN.
On the other side, this uncertainty on the part of the EU can deliver a weak image of it in the eyes of the Trump administration, debilitating the strategic axis between Italy and the US, and between Europe and the US.
For the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, there is no time to waste in removing Maduro from power, recently marked as a "dictator" and “ a Cuban puppet" by US President Donald Trump.
"People in Venezuela are suffering and children are starving to death," Tajani said. "We need to act together."