President Donald Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries puts at risk U.S. relations with America’s European partners. At first glance, the measure would seem to have little to do with Europe. But in reality, it will affect European citizens and businesses, and even European security. Perhaps most important, the ban has shaken to the core European perceptions of the transatlantic alliance as being one based on shared values and the rule of law.
The executive order comes at a time when European concerns about the new president are already rather high. Trump has in the past referred to NATO as obsolete, and although key members of his Cabinet have offered supportive statements on the alliance, uncertainty lingers across the Continent. The president has also been publicly supportive of Britain’s vote last summer to leave the European Union and suggested that others might follow. His criticism of the European Union at a recent press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and in an earlier interview with the Times and Bild, has brought into question whether U.S. support for European integration — a fundamental tenet of American foreign policy since 1946 — will continue. In a letter to European leaders, European Council President Donald Tusk included “worrying declarations by the new American administration” as one of the challenges facing the European Union.