President Donald Trump has an unusually keen interest in the May elections for the European Parliament, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Newsmax on Monday evening.
Trump's interest in the details of the elections for the 751 seats in the European Parliament comes at a time when the president and the European Union are at dagger's ends on a variety of issues — notably Trump's new tariffs and his hard-line position on immigration.
"He's strongly interested in the European elections — very much so, in fact," said Kurz, who spoke to us a few hours after his 60-minute meeting with the president in the White House.
Trump, according to the Austrian chancellor, asked about the candidates, their parties, and their chances in the 28 EU nation-members holding elections May 23-26.
Kurz also told us Trump was quite interested in who would become the next president of the EU following the elections. The current EU president, Jean Claude Juncker of Luxembourg, has had a cordial relationship with Trump but has also made clear his distaste for the president's trade policy.
The European Parliament elections are drawing particular interest because so many of the anti-EU, populist parties — the National Front (FN) of Marine LePen in France, the Fidesz Party headed by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orben — are waging their strongest-ever campaign to win seats in the May contest.
At 33, Kurz is the youngest head of government in the world. He heads the center-right Austrian People's Party, which governs with the support in parliament of the populist Austrian Freedom Party headed by Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.
The Austrian leader freely admitted he and Trump did voice disagreement on trade and energy but, in his words, "we agreed to disagree and got along fine."
The U.S. is Austria's second-biggest export market after Germany.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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