One of European Union’s most ardent advocates has urged his followers to “Make Europe Great Again”, and even seemed to suggest he could start pumping out Trump-style baseball caps to back up his slogan.
Guy Verhofstadt, a leading MEP who promotes near-total European integration, borrowed Donald Trump’s winning line to promote plans for an embryonic EU army, and an international border patrol.
Writing on Facebook, Verhofstadt told fans that the EU should not to “waste time” trying to cosy up to a Trump administration to support doomed projects like the TTIP trade deal:
Instead, he said that Europe should turn inwards and work on opportunities within the bloc – in order to “Make Europe Great Again”.
He accompanied the post with a picture of a Trump-style baseball cap bearing the phrase.
The attempt to capitalise on Trump’s popularity is ironic given the President-elect’s hostility to the EU.
Trump backed Brexit during the EU referendum campaign, and described the decision to ditch Europe as “a beautiful thing”.
Since winning the election he has been characterised as ignorant by EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Trump wins. Not only missed chance to elect a 1st woman president. Wake up call for Europe to further unite & take charge of its own destiny
— Guy Verhofstadt (@GuyVerhofstadt) November 9, 2016
Panicked foreign ministers called an emergency meeting to discuss Trump’s win in the aftermath of his election – but both Britain and France refused to attend.
Meanwhile, Trump is beloved of the European populist parties terrifying the EU, including France’s Front National, Germany’s Alternative Fuer Deutschland and Italy’s Five-Star Movement.
However, it is not the first time EU leaders have pinched a slogan from an opposing side to make political hay.
In the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the president of the European Council modified the Brexit campaign’s “take back control” slogan – despite having just lost a major battle to them.