UK Politics

Boris Johnson to skip EU special meeting on Trump win

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump Image copyright EPA / AP

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will not attend a European special meeting called to discuss Donald Trump's US election victory.

Mr Johnson has told his EU counterparts to end the "whinge-o-rama" over the result of the presidential race.

A Foreign Office spokesman said he would not go to the meeting on Sunday but would attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday.

The BBC understands a senior UK official will be sent in his place.

The Foreign Office spokesman said: "The foreign secretary will not attend the meeting convened for Sunday. There is a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday where a range of issues can be discussed in the normal way.

"We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the US election timetable is long established. An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition period and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain."

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On Friday Mr Johnson said: "With respect to my beloved EU friends and colleagues, I think it is time we snapped out of the general doom and gloom about the result of this election and the collective whinge-o-rama that seems to be going on in some places".

Mr Johnson's remarks are in stark contrast to those of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

He said Mr Trump's election risked upsetting EU ties with the US "fundamentally and structurally".

He said: "We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works", adding that two years would be wasted while Mr Trump "tours a world he doesn't know".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Nigel Farage visited Trump Tower on Saturday.

Meanwhile, UKIP interim leader Nigel Farage reportedly met Mr Trump's team when he visited New York's Trump Tower on Saturday, warning there were some "some fences to be mended" between Britain and the president-elect.

He told Fox News Mr Trump would have to deal with Prime Minister Theresa May, despite her top team being "rude" about him.

"Trump is an Anglophile, he understands and recognises what our two great nations have done together between us. And, thank goodness, we are coming towards the end of an American president who loathed Britain," he said.

"One of the things we can do, we can have between us a sensible trade relationship, cut tariffs, we are massive investors in each other's countries. There's a bright future."

'Delusional'

Tom Brake, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, accused Mr Johnson of being an "artless diplomat" whose decision to snub the meeting would further damage the UK's relationship with other EU leaders.

He said Mr Trump's election raised "a huge number of questions" for Britain, Europe and the rest of the world, including concerns over potential US protectionism, Nato, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Syria.

"We face a difficult period for UK foreign relations and having this artless diplomat in charge of proceedings puts us on the back foot," he added.

Following his victory Mr Trump spoke with Mrs May. A Downing Street spokesman said they agreed that "the US-UK relationship was very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both".

But a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partner, Axel Schafer, said the PM's hope that Mr Trump will look favourably on the UK would come to nothing.

Mr Schafer told The Times: "What changed is the likelihood of a speedy and preferential trade deal between the UK and US. Even before Tuesday the chances were rather low, now the hope for this kind of deal seems delusional."

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