Political negotiations are an art, especially when the relations between two groups aren't exactly rosy pink. With that in mind, it seems like the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker got along well with President Trump. Juncker's strategy during their Wednesday meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal, was to let Trump know: "If you want to be stupid, I can be stupid as well."
It may sound like a strange statement to make to the American president, but Juncker's reportedly tit-for-tat sentiment was a way to deter Trump from placing more tariffs on European aluminum and steel. According to a senior European Union official who spoke with WSJ, Juncker even brought "dozen colorful cue cards" to get Trump acquainted with his trade points. The unidentified European Union official told WSJ, "We knew this wasn’t an academic seminar. It had to be very simple."
In a joint statement published by the European Commission, both leaders said that the purpose of the meeting in Washington, D.C., was to "launch a new phase in the relationship between the United States and the European Union – a phase of close friendship, of strong trade relations in which both of us will win, of working better together for global security and prosperity, and of fighting jointly against terrorism."
The statement also touched upon the combined supposed strength of the European Union and United States as it apparently amounts to 830 million citizens and over 50 percent of the world's GDP. The idea, per the statement, is to unite both sides for a "better, more secure, and more prosperous" world.
Still, according to the WSJ, there were some hiccups here and there. When Trump and Juncker were expected to release a joint statement, journalists reportedly had to wait for an hour. The meeting itself spanned over three hours and at the end of it, Trump and Juncker had yet to step out from the Cabinet Room to make their statement.
The people responsible for drafting the statement were United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. WSJ reported that both men "disappeared for more than half an hour" to "fine-tune" the statement.
At one point, according to European Union official who spoke with WSJ, "Suddenly Trump came out into our group and asked, 'So, where are we now? Where is the statement?' We said, 'We haven’t seen it yet, because your people are still negotiating among themselves.'"
Ultimately, Juncker and Trump spoke to the press as the former said, "We have a good personal relation." The European Commission's president appeared to be straightforward to WSJ when he spoke of Trump's trade position, "We were never in a position to agree on these main elements before."
According to the joint statement from both Trump and Juncker, their agreement consisted of four major points. Firstly, the agreement is to make trade between Europe and the United States "fairer and reciprocal" with an emphasis on helping agricultural development. Secondly, the European Union would apparently seek to import more natural gas to the United States. Thirdly, there will supposedly be more open dialogue on the standards and practices of mutual trade between entities.
Lastly, both America and the European Union are expected to unite to fight off distortion and exploitation of their trade standards. It seems like Juncker's colorful cards paid off. If you're from the "pics or it didn't happen" school of thought, here's a photo Trump and Juncker embracing each other.