Pence faces anti-Trump protests in Brussels
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 21, 2017,
Feb 21, 2017, 11:27
Speaking with a visibly relieved EU Council President Donald Tusk of Poland after a meeting at the EU's headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Pence delivered the kind of friendly, reassuring message that Europe has come to take for granted from the USA, and which it has pointedly not gotten from President Donald Trump.
Speaking in Munich, Germany, Mr Pence said the USA would "stand with Europe today and every day", telling the audience: "The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in our commitment to this trans-Atlantic alliance".
"We are separated by an ocean, but we are joined by a common heritage, and a common commitment to freedom, democracy and the rule of law", Pence reportedly said Monday.
As well as meeting Tusk, Pence saw the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the head of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to both Pence and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the primary focus of the vice-president's visit was on ramping up defense spending, or "burden sharing".
Despite Trump's strong criticism of the European Union and support of Brexit, the U.S. commitment remains "steadfast and enduring", Pence said in a press conference with Tusk.
"It is my privilege on behalf of President Trump to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union", he said.
"We must stand strong in defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations in Europe", Pence said during a visit to Brussels, Belgium.
"And with regard to Ukraine, the United States will continue to hold Russian Federation accountable and demand that Russian Federation honor the Minsk agreements beginning by de-escalating the violence in eastern Ukraine".
However, she also suggested EU-U.S. ties may become more pragmatic and less automatic than in past decades.
Pence also promised the USA would continue to "hold Russian Federation accountable" for its military intervention in Ukraine.
Two female protesters went topless and carried banners saying "Pence get out of our trousers, ' while another placard read 'Love Trumps Hate".
Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, also stressed the importance of NATO to the United States, claiming the need to maintain and enhance current trans-Atlantic treaties.
But the new administration has since softened it's tone.
Trump has repeatedly accused the political press of being deceitful.
Pence was in Brussels to meet with a number of EU leaders, hoping to reassure skeptics that President Trump was committed to keeping the union together post-Brexit.