Trump 'told Macron he should take France out of EU' for a better US trade deal

'What was said in the room, stays in that room,' French president says when questioned over proposal

Jon Sharman
Friday 29 June 2018 16:47 BST
Macron leaves imprint on Trump's hand after firm handshake at G7 Summit

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Louise Thomas

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Donald Trump suggested to Emmanuel Macron he should pull France out of the European Union to get a better trade deal with the US, according to reports.

The outlandish proposal came in a private meeting during the French president’s state visit to Washington in April, it was claimed.

Mr Trump offered France a bilateral trade deal on better terms than the EU currently gets, as a whole, from America, The Washington Post reported, citing two anonymous European officials.

He is said to have asked his counterpart: “Why don’t you leave the EU?”

Questioned over the claim on Friday, Mr Macron said that “what was said in the room, stays in that room”.

The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.

Mr Macron’s visit to Washington was characterised by macho posturing – which, at times, tended to the bizarre – as he and Mr Trump each tried to assert their positions as new global leaders.

The US president has previously criticised the EU – home to some of America's staunchest allies – and particularly Germany over what he called “unfair” trade practices.

He has clashed with Angela Merkel and called the bloc a “vehicle for Germany”, predicting before his inauguration that other countries would exit as Britain has voted to do.

The suggestion to Mr Macron was almost certain to have fallen on deaf ears, as the En Marche politician has spoken frequently about his support for deeper EU integration, aligning himself closely with Ms Merkel, who feels similarly.

Mr Trump fell out with European leaders and other close US allies, notably Canada’s Justin Trudeau, over trade policy at the recent G7 summit, and has slapped tariffs on European goods including cars.

His approach to America’s traditional ties with friendly countries has stood at odds with the praise he has lavished on strongmen like Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte.

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