Ted Malloch, the leading contender to be named America’s next top diplomat in Brussels, has reminded the EU they have no say over who President Trump appoints to ambassadorial roles.
Leading EU politicians are reported to have pleaded with top Brussels bosses Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk to refuse Professor Malloch official status as a US representative.
Influential members of the European Parliament have written to Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk to ask for EU institutions to treat the academic as a ‘persona non grata’ should Professor Malloch be appointed by President Trump, according to the Guardian.
Professor Malloch, of Henley Business School and a Brexit supporter, has been accused of “outrageous malevolence” by MEPs over his previous suggestion the EU “needs a little taming”, the newspaper reports.
But the ex-United Nations ambassador today branded the accusations “patently false”.
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Ted Malloch hit back at Jean-Claude Juncker's remarks on Donald Trump
Sometimes the EU doesn't understand the EU
In an interview with Bloomberg, Professor Malloch said: “They've never met me, talked to me, or read anything I've written so that would be a mischaracterisation.
“The letter, I think, is addressing the question of a future ambassadorship and whether a person should have only pro-EU sentiments or views.
“Well, within the EU itself there are probably three or four different views on what the EU should be or where it may go.
“And in the Parliament the constellation is sprayed across the whole spectrum of opinion.
“But, frankly, the Americans get to pick who their ambassador to a country or a mission would be.
“It's never the case that a country gets to pick or a mission gets to pick who that ambassador is.”
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President Trump has been critical of the EU since taking office, leading European Commission president Mr Juncker to claim the new US administration doesn’t understand the Brussels-based bloc.
Speaking ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Malta this morning, Mr Juncker said: “Sometimes I have an impression that the new administration does not know the EU in detail, but in Europe details matter."
Responding to the top bureaucrat’s remarks, Professor Malloch said: “My rejoinder is having spent some time in Brussels is sometimes the EU doesn't understand the EU.
“It is an overly complex, fairly bloated, bureaucratic organisation that is very difficult to explain internally and externally.”
Professor Malloch said he expects President Trump to announce a series of ambassadorial appointments – including his own possible role – very soon, following the confirmation this week of Rex Tillerson as his new Secretary of State.