US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Brussels and a security conference in Munich this month, the White House said yesterday (2 February), amid jitters about the health of the trans-Atlantic relationship.
After Pence met German Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, the White House said that the Vice President “plans to attend the Munich Security Conference and visit Brussels later this month”.
“He will engage with European Allies and partners about how to deepen and strengthen the trans-Atlantic alliance.”
Michael Richard “Mike” Pence previously served as the 50th Governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017. Pence positioned himself as a principled ideologue and supporter of the Tea Party movement, noting he was “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.
The 53rd edition of the Munich Security Conference will be held on 17-19 February. The annual gathering on international security policy is the world’s greatest of its kind. Washington announced that this year, the US delegation to the Munich conference will be bigger than usual.
Trump’s election has thrown a 75-year old alliance into deep crisis.
His apparent distain for NATO and the European Union, and his apparent willingness to engage with Russia have caused something close to panic in European capitals.
For decades, US military power has underpinned European security. Trump has indicated that relationship has to be more of a two-way street.
European diplomats have expressed hope that the appointments of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and James Mattis as Secretary of Defence will moderate Trump’s support for nationalists and populist movements on the continent.
Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have invited Trump following his election to Brussels for an early summit to chart EU-US relations for the next four years.
In the meantime, Tusk scolded Trump and his “worrying declarations” in a letter to EU leaders ahead of today’s summit in Malta.