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Pence: Trump Administration Is Looking to ‘Deepen Relationship’ with the EU

February 20, 2017

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European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (R) shakes hands with United States Vice President Mike Pence, during a meeting at US ambassadors residence in Brussels on Feb. 20, 2017.VIRGINIA MAYO/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told senior European Union officials in Brussels on Monday that the Trump administration was looking at ways to “deepen our relationship” with the EU.

President Donald Trump alarmed EU leaders by endorsing Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and by suggesting last month that other states might follow. Pence spent the weekend in Germany seeking to reassure Europeans that Trump was committed to the NATO defense pact, but left some unconvinced.

Speaking to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini before meetings with the heads of the European Council, European Commission and NATO, Pence said he was “very grateful to have the opportunity to visit with you and explore ways that we can deepen our relationship with the European Union.”

He met Mogherini at the U.S. mission to the EU. The last U.S. ambassador, who was dismissed by Trump as he took office, warned the new administration against reversing decades of postwar U.S. encouragement of European integration and said supporting Brexit was “the height of folly.”

Mogherini told Pence that Europeans and the United States had much to work on and that discussions were already under way.