EU to discuss Trump ascendancy: Boris Johnson snubs emergency meeting calling it ‘unnecessary’

An emergency dinner meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Sunday was the latest sign of the global disquiet in the wake of the election of Donald J. Trump, who has questioned some of the central tenets of American foreign policy.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, hastily scheduled the dinner meeting after Mr. Trump’s victory, which threatens to foment further division in a continent already reeling from crises over Greece’s debt, migration and Britain’s decision to exit the bloc.

A number of European countries face the same powerful populist forces that elevated Mr. Trump. Some, like Hungary, may be prepared to embrace changes that could include warmer ties with Russia. Others, like Poland, want to double down on the decades-old trans-Atlantic alliance, with NATO as its cornerstone.

There were concerns in some European capitals that scheduling the gathering before Mr. Trump appointed a secretary of state or announced his policy agenda cast too much doubt on his ability to devise a working relationship with Europe.

The British government said that the meeting was unnecessary and that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson would skip it. Last week, Mr. Johnson dismissed concern over Mr. Trump’s victory as unjustified complaining, or a “collective whinge-o-rama,” by other Europeans.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister, also did not attend the dinner, a decision that French officials attributed to scheduling issues, and Hungary’s foreign minister did not make it, either. Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary described Mr. Trump’s win as “great news” on his Facebook page.

Ms. Mogherini emphasized Europe’s potential to be “a superpower” in an era of global cooperation after Mr. Trump’s victory. But the list of foreign policy challenges that Europe faces has grown longer.

Baltic nations like Estonia are newly vulnerable because Mr. Trump has threatened to break with an article of the NATO alliance that obliges the United States to defend all other members in the event of an attack. Mr. Trump has said the guarantee should apply only to those countries that “fulfill their obligations to us.”

Then there is Mr. Trump’s open admiration for Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin. That could make it even more of a challenge for Europe to maintain economic sanctions imposed on Moscow for annexing Crimea and destabilising Ukraine.

But regional analysts are still grappling with the implications of Mr. Trump’s win, particularly for Europe. “The entire European project has always taken place in the context of American hegemony and the security guarantee, and all of that now is in question,” Hans Kundnani, a senior trans-Atlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, said in an interview on Sunday.

“The argument that Europeans finally pull together as a result of the election of Trump could be very wrong, as it may well sharpen their differences and help pull them even further apart,” Mr. Kundnani said.

Miroslav Lajcak, the Slovak foreign minister, told reporters after the dinner that concerns that Mr. Trump would base his policies on friendly relations with Mr. Putin could turn out to be overblown.

“There is always a distance between a candidate and an elected president, so I don’t really believe we have to waste our time speculating about this kind of stuff,” Mr. Lajcak said.

Europe also faces the prospect that the Trump administration will pull the United States out of the nuclear accord that Iran reached with a group of world powers, including European Union nations. In September, Ms. Mogherini praised the accord, which restricts Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, calling it of “historic political importance.”

In addition, Mr. Trump has promised to tear up a landmark global accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite warnings by the United Nations that climate change will sow global unrest by contributing to desertification, heat waves, floods and rising sea levels.