The European Union isn’t going to allow Donald Trump to nominate an E.U. skeptic as ambassador without a fight.
In a letter on Thursday, Manfred Weber, leader of the conservative EPP Group in the European Parliament, and Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the parliament’s Liberal group, urged E.U. Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker not to accept Ted Malloch as U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Mr. Weber and Mr. Verhofstadt cited Mr. Malloch’s express interest in dismantling the 27-member European alliance.
“I helped bring down the Soviet Union, so maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming,” said Mr. Malloch in an interview with the BBC in January. Mr. Malloch, who is said to be U.S. Presdent Trump’s top choice for the position, also told the BBC that the euro currency could collapse in 18 months.
“These statements reveal outrageous malevolence regarding the values that define this European Union,” Mr. Verhofstadt and Mr. Weber wrote, adding that Mr. Malloch could seriously undermine the trans-Atlantic relationship. “We are strongly convinced that persons seeing as their mission to disrupt or dissolve the European Union should not be accredited as official representatives to the E.U.,” they added.
In an interview with Bild, Germany’s largest daily newspaper, Mr. Weber said a nomination of Mr. Malloch would be unacceptable. “The leaders of the E.U. institutions and national governments should also make this clear to the new U.S. administration at an early stage,” he emphasized.
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a politician with Germany’s Liberal Democratic Party and vice president of the European Parliament, also voiced his opposition to Mr. Malloch in Bild: “I am strictly against giving Ted Malloch the accreditation as an ambassador.”
Their demands could have an effect. In order for an ambassador to be officially recognized by the European Union, several steps are necessary. They include the approval of all 28 member states in the European Council, as well as the E.U. Commission and the E.U.’s diplomatic service, known as the European External Action Service. The refusal of a single state to approve the nomination would kill Mr. Malloch’s chances.
Gianni Pittella, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats group in E.U. parliament, also wrote a letter to Mr. Juncker and Mr. Tusk, urging them to reject Mr. Malloch: “The S&D Group is clear that Mr Malloch should not be accepted as an official representative to the E.U. and should be declared a ‘persona non grata’.”
While Mr. Malloch has not yet officially been nominated, he is said to have already been interviewed for the post by Mr. Trump.