The sources who had been briefed on it described it as polite and stressed there was no evidence Trump was prepared to go beyond his rhetorical attacks on the EU - he has repeatedly praised Britain's decision to leave - and take concrete steps to destabilise the bloc. But anxiety over the White House stance led French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, to issue unusual calls last week for Pence to affirm during his visit to Europe that the U.S. was not aiming to break up the EU. Pence obliged on Monday in Brussels, pledging strong ties between the United States and the EU, and making clear his message was shared by the president. "President Trump and I look forward to working together with you and the European Union to deepen our political and economic partnership," he said. But the message did not end the concerns in European capitals. "We are worried and we should be worried," Thomas Matussek, senior adviser at Flint Global and a former German ambassador to the Britain and the United Nations, told Reuters. "No one knows anything at the moment about what sort of decisions will be coming out of Washington. But it is clear that the man on top and the people closest to him feel that it's the nation state that creates identity and not what they see as an amorphous group of countries like the

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EU." With elections looming in the Netherlands, France and Germany this year, European officials said they hoped Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could convince Trump to work constructively with the EU. The worst-case scenario from Europe's point of view was described by Ischinger in an article published last week, entitled "How Europe should deal with Trump". He said that if the U.S.

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