• President Trump has claimed that 'the European Union was formed in order to take advantage of the United States."
  • President Trump's comments came during a lengthy speech which covered a series of unrelated topics at a press conference in the White House's Rose Garden, including military spending, illegal immigration and his friendship with Mexico's president.
  • The EU was conceived as a means of promoting trade links as well as fostering political co-operation in order to put an end to the bloody European conflicts which had characterised the first half of the century.
  • Trump has previously called the EU one of the United States' biggest foes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US President Donald Trump has said that "the European Union was formed in order to take advantage of the United States" while claiming that the United States' European allies had "never treated us well".

President Trump's comments came during a long speech covering a series of unrelated topics at a press conference in the White House's Rose Garden.

The event had been billed as an announcement of new actions on China but Trump instead spoke for well over an hour about military spending, illegal immigration, his friendship with Mexico's president, as well as launching attacks on Joe Biden.

When he turned to talk about Europe, he said: "Don't forget we're in competition with China, and with many other countries throughout the world. We're in tremendous economic competition, including Europe, which has never treated us well."

"The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of the United States," he said. "Formed to take advantage of the United States. I know that. They know I know that but other presidents had no idea."

The earliest iteration of what is now called the European Union was formed in 1950, in the aftermath of the Second World War, when six countries - Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands - formed the European Coal and Steel Community.

The organisation was intended to promote trade links as well as foster political co-operation in order to put an end to the bloody European conflicts which had characterised the first half of the century.

Trump has previously criticised many multilateral institutions including the EU, which he has previously accused of seeking to undermine the United States by operating as a single trading bloc.

In 2018, he identified the EU as one of the United States' biggest foes. "Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe," he told CBS News.

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