$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


EU, Japan to Sign Massive Trade Deal as US Puts up Barriers

The European Union’s top officials arrive in Japan Tuesday to sign the single market’s biggest trade deal ever and present a united front as Washington upends the international trade order.

EU Council President Donald Tusk and Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker land in Japan after talks in Beijing, where they urged global trade cooperation and warned against trade wars.

“It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,” Tusk said Monday in Beijing.

“There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos.”

The “landmark” EU-Japan deal creates a massive economic zone and stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s “America First” protectionism.

The deal, agreed last December, is “the biggest ever negotiated by the European Union,” according to Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas.

“This agreement will create an open trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP,” he said.

The EU — the world’s biggest single market with 28 countries and 500 million people — is trying to boost alliances in the face of Trump’s protectionist administration.

The EU-Japan deal will send a “strong signal to the world” against US protectionism, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said recently.

Trump’s administration has angered traditional allies like the EU and Japan by imposing trade tariffs, while rattling international markets by threatening a trade war with China.

On Sunday, the US president fueled rising rancor by labelling the EU, along with Russia and China, “a foe” of the United States, and repeating his assertion that the EU has “really taken advantage of us on trade.”

The EU officials and Japan will also look to present a united front against US tariffs on steel and aluminum, which Tokyo has called “deplorable.”

Under the trade agreement, the EU will open its market to Japan’s auto industry, with Tokyo in return scrapping barriers to EU farming products, especially dairy.

The EU is seeking access to one of the world’s richest markets, while Japan hopes to jump-start an economy that has struggled to find solid growth.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been scheduled to sign the deal in Brussels last week, but cancelled his trip after devastating floods that killed more than 220 people.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Russia and Ukraine in EU-Backed Talks to Avoid Fresh ‘Gas Wars’

Officials from Moscow and Kyiv are set to gather in Berlin on Tuesday for EU-backed talks on the future of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine in a bid to minimise disputes when the current contract expires next year.

Russian gas giant Gazprom has already dramatically reduced the volume of gas transiting via the country, as Moscow and Kyiv remain at loggerheads over the annexation of Crimea and simmering conflict in the east of Ukraine.

Kyiv fears the loss of revenue from transit taxes, on top of being bypassed politically as well as physically by new gas pipes.

The meeting will bring together delegations from Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz, which have been locked in legal battles for years.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin will also be present.

“It is clear that time is of the essence. The negotiations that lie ahead of us are complex,” said European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic ahead of the talks.

The meeting will focus on Gazprom’s plan to construct and put into operation by the end of next year the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would bring gas to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine.

The pipeline will follow the track of the existing Nord Stream 1 and will double the amount of Russian gas arriving in the European Union’s most powerful economy via this route.

Germany has long insisted this is a purely “commercial” project and in March lifted the final obstacles to its construction.

But the following month German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered an unexpected blow to Moscow’s strategic initiative, insisting Ukraine should continue to play a key role in the transit of gas to Europe.

“There are also political factors to take into consideration,” Merkel said at a joint press conference in Berlin with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the time.

“(Nord Stream 2) is not possible without clarity regarding the transit role of Ukraine,” she said.

For his part, the Ukrainian president said the project was “absolutely political.”

“Why spend tens of billions of dollars to make the European economy less efficient, less competitive and the energy politics of the EU more dependent on Russia?”

Criticism from Trump 

The project has also been criticized by US President Donald Trump.

The United States has an interest in selling shipped liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe, but for the moment this is much less economically viable than Russian gas.

“So we will be selling LNG and competing with the pipeline. I think we’ll compete successfully. Although there is a little advantage location-wise,” Trump said after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Tuesday.

Another project, the Turkish Stream pipeline, is further set to reduce the role of Ukraine in gas transit.

But Putin was conciliatory, saying Russia was ready to keep up transit via Ukraine after Nord Stream 2 becomes operational and extend the transit agreement.

Putin said this was possible if Ukraine’s national gas company Naftogaz and Gazprom resolve their gas dispute at a Stockholm arbitration court. 

European demand for gas has been rising since 2015, largely because of a drop in production in the Netherlands.

Last winter Gazprom raised exports to the continent to a record high thanks to the cold weather.

On the record day of March 2, gas pipelines delivering Russian gas to Europe were working at up to 99 percent of their capacity, said researcher Jack Sharples in a recent publication by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

What happens now 

“Gas transit via Ukraine will continue to be necessary in substantial volumes throughout the year until Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream are launched,” he said.

But after that the role of Ukraine would depend on an agreement reached with the European Commission or the demands of clients, he added.

Thierry Bros, a researcher at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, said the sides must not only reach an agreement about what happens after 2019, but also what happens now — given that Gazprom is turning to the courts to demand the annulation of its current contracts with Ukraine.

“Now a global contract must be reviewed with two unknowns — the Nord Stream 2 project and the transit tariff, since we do not know what Ukraine will propose,” he told AFP.

“If this were just a commercial question, Ukraine would be able to make Nord Stream 2 uncompetitive by lowering its own transit tariffs,” he said, though in fact Kyiv is asking in courts for the rate to be increased to make up for the decline in volume. 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Putin Denies Having Compromising Info on Trump, Meddling in Elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied having any compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump and called the idea that Russia meddled in 2016 U.S. presidential elections “utterly ridiculous.”

During a contentious interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, Putin said, “Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States — do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?”

The interview, which aired Monday night, came shortly after the Russian leader met with Trump in Helsinki for a highly anticipated summit.

He also refused to engage with Wallace on the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of a dozen Russian officials.

Wallace tried to offer Putin a copy of the indictment, which names 12 officials of the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU. They are being accused of working to hack the servers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and emails associated with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Putin neither commented on the indictment nor accepted a copy offered by Wallace.

Eventually, Putin questioned Mueller’s probe, questioning why the former FBI chief hadn’t reached out to the Russian government for help in the investigation, pointing to a treaty between the two countries regarding assistance in criminal investigations.

“Why wouldn’t special counsel Mueller send us an official request within the framework of this agreement?” Putin asked. “Our investigators will be acting in accordance with this treaty. They will question each individual that the American partners are suspecting of something. Why not a single request was filed?”

Putin also denied having “kompromat” or “compromising material” on Trump.

“I don’t want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come as rude — but before he announced that he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us,” he said.

As for the summit, Putin pronounced it “the beginning of the path” back from the West’s past efforts to isolate Russia.

“I think you see for yourself that these efforts failed, and they were never bound to succeed,” he said.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Trump, Putin in Highly Anticipated Talks

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are holding a highly anticipated summit at the Baltic port city of Helsinki.  

Just before heading into one-on-one talks Monday, Trump said relations between the two countries have not been good for the last number of years but “I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship.”

As reporters were being escorted out, both leaders ignored shouted questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Hours earlier, the U.S. president took to social media to cast blame for the state of the American relationship with Moscow.

Trump tweeted: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”, referring to the current investigation by the special counsel into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The Russian ministry of foreign affairs tweeted its response, saying “We agree.”

Trump had also issued a series of tweets as he headed for Finland, saying no matter how well he does at the summit with Putin he would “return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough.

Asked by reporters to further comment during a Monday morning breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the Mantyniemi official residence, Trump stuck to the bilateral relationship with Helsinki and last week’s meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“NATO was a little bit tough at the beginning and it turned out to be love,” replied Trump.

“They’re paying and they’re paying more rapidly and I think NATO has never been stronger than it is today,” said Trump referring to defense spending commitments tied to a minimum percentage of the gross domestic product of the alliance’s member states.

Finland, is part of the EU but not a full member of the NATO defense pact.

Several thousand protesters gathered Sunday in Helsinki’s iconic Senate Square for a protest that gathered together activists focused on issues including the environment, refugee rights, and anti-war causes.

Some of protest signs read: “Dictators not welcome,” “Trump is Satan to the environment,” and “Stop Killing Journalists.”

Additional protests were expected Monday.

Ahead of his summit with Putin, Trump has both lowered expectations for the talks and issued a stunning rebuke of what has traditionally been one of Washington’s closest allies.

“Well I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS News. 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. Trump also said Russia is a foe “in certain respects.”

European Council President Donald Tusk quickly responded on Twitter: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

Trump’s comments were broadcast as he headed for Helsinki. Trump says he will use the meeting to find areas of cooperation with Putin, who is also critical of Western institutions such as NATO and the EU.

“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. “But I go in with low expectations. I’m not going with high expectations. I don’t really, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.”

The Trump and Putin meeting comes three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of meddling in election to help Trump win the White House.

 

Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States, so it is unlikely that the Russia would turn the intelligence officials over to the U.S. to stand trial. Putin has denied trying to influence the vote.

The fresh indictments prompted a number of U.S. senators, all but one Democrats, to request Trump cancel his summit with Putin.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, speaking to VOA’s Russian Service in Helsinki said his greatest fear is that Trump “will be too friendly and lavish praise on Vladimir Putin and I think that serves his interest. I don’t think that serves America’s interest.

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Trump Declares US Relationship with Russia ‘Has Never Been Worse’

U.S. President Donald Trump, just hours before his highly anticipated one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, took to social media to cast blame for the state of the American relationship with Moscow. 

Trump tweeted: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!,” referring to the current investigation by the special counsel into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump had also issued a series of tweets as he headed for Finland, saying no matter how well he does at the summit with Putin he would “return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough.”

​Asked by reporters to further comment during a Monday morning breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the Mantyniemi official residence, Trump stuck to the bilateral relationship with Helsinki and last week’s meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“NATO was a little bit tough at the beginning and it turned out to be love,” replied Trump. 

“They’re paying and they’re paying more rapidly and I think NATO has never been stronger than it is today,” said Trump referring to defense spending commitments tied to a minimum percentage of the gross domestic product of the alliance’s member states.

Finland, is part of the EU but not a full member of the NATO defense pact.

Several thousand protesters gathered Sunday in Helsinki’s iconic Senate Square for a protest that gathered together activists focused on issues including the environment, refugee rights, and anti-war causes.

Some of protest signs read: “Dictators not welcome,” “Trump is Satan to the environment,” and “Stop Killing Journalists.”

Additional protests are expected Monday. 

Ahead of his summit with Putin, Trump has both lowered expectations for the talks and issued a stunning rebuke of what has traditionally been one of Washington’s closest allies.

“Well I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS News when asked who he thinks is the U.S.’ biggest enemy. “I think the European Union is a foe. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.” Trump also said Russia is a foe “in certain respects.”

European Council President Donald Tusk quickly responded on Twitter: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

Trump’s comments were broadcast as he headed for Helsinki. Trump says he will use the meeting to find areas of cooperation with Putin, who is also critical of Western institutions such as NATO and the EU.

“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. “But I go in with low expectations. I’m not going with high expectations. I don’t really, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.”

Trump and Putin are set to meet one-on-one on Monday afternoon with only interpreters present before wider talks involving aides.

The encounter comes three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of meddling in election to help Trump win the White House. 

Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States, so it is unlikely that the Russia would turn the intelligence officials over to the U.S. to stand trial. Putin has denied trying to influence the vote.

The fresh indictments prompted a number of U.S. senators, all but one Democrats, to request Trump cancel his summit with Putin.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, speaking to VOA’s Russian Service in Helsinki said his greatest fear is that Trump “will be too friendly and lavish praise on Vladimir Putin and I think that serves his interest. I don’t think that serves America’s interest.”

During his Europe tour, Trump has been combative with traditional U.S. allies at every stage – beginning at a NATO summit in Brussels, where he chastised European leaders for not spending more on defense.  

Ahead of his meeting in Britain, Trump criticized Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to negotiations about Britain leaving the EU and suggested it could impact a proposed trade deal between London and Washington. 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


US Rejects European Requests For Relief On Iranian Sanctions

The United States has reportedly rejected requests from European allies that are seeking exemptions from U.S. sanctions imposed on countries doing business in Iran. 

According to diplomats and other officials, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote a letter to Britain, France and Germany saying the U.S. would not provide widespread protection from sanctions to countries doing business in Iran. 

Pompeo and Mnuchin said in their letter, first reported by NBC News, that they are seeking “to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime.” 

The U.S. did add, however, that it would grant limited exceptions, based on national security or humanitarian grounds. The letter came in response to a request last month from Britain, France and Germany.

The U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year. The deal sought to limit Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief. 

The U.S. said it plans to reimpose tough sanctions on Iran, beginning in early August, targeting Iran’s automotive sector, trade and gold, and other key metals. 

A second set of sanctions are set to begin in early November. Those sanctions will focus on Iran’s energy sector and petroleum related transactions and transactions with the central bank of Iran. 

The U.S. has warned other countries that they will also face sanctions if they continue to trade with sanctioned sectors of the Iranian economy. 

The Trump administration’s hard stance on Iranian sanctions is part of a growing list of contentious moves that the U.S. has engaged in with its allies. On a recent trip to Europe, Trump complained members of the NATO alliance are not fiscally responsible. The U.S. leader also criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit. He has also called the European Union a “foe” on trade issues.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


France Takes World Cup With 4-2 Win Over Croatia

France has clinched its second World Cup title with a 4-2 win over Croatia in a dramatic final in Moscow featuring a series of firsts and a pitch invasion orchestrated by Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

 

France led 2-1 at halftime courtesy of the first own-goal and the first video-reviewed penalty in a World Cup final. The own-goal off the top of Mario Mandzukic’s head was the 12th of the tournament. That’s double the previous World Cup record of six.

 

Croatia rallied to equalize on a terrific left-foot strike by Ivan Perisic, but France took the lead right back when Perisic handled the ball in the area. Argentine referee Nestor Pitana initially didn’t call the handball but awarded the spot kick after a video review. Antoine Griezmann converted the penalty to put France back in front.

 

Four pitch invaders disrupted the game in the 52nd minute for about a minute before being dragged away by security and police. Punk rock group Pussy Riot quickly claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion via social media, saying it was a protest aimed at ending illegal arrests of protesters and to allow political competition in Russia.

 

Play resumed and France quickly took a 4-1 lead with goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in the 59th and 65th minutes before Mario Mandzukic pulled one back for the Croatians in the 69th.

 

Croatia was playing in its first World Cup final. For France, it was a first World Cup crown since winning on home soil in 1998.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Trump Labels Russia, China and Europe as ‘Foes’

U.S. President Donald Trump is branding Russia, China and the European Union as “foes” of the United States, but specifically is singling out long-time allies in Europe for taking advantage of the United States on trade deals.

“I think we have a lot of foes,” the U.S. leader told CBS News in an interview broadcast Sunday that was taped the day before at his Turnberry golf course in Scotland.

“I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” he said. “Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”

“I respect the leaders of those countries,” Trump said, referring to the European Union. “But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills” to meet the NATO goal of each of the 29 member states of the Western military alliance spending two percent of the size of their national economies on defense.

Trump criticized Germany, as he had last week before a contentious NATO summit in Brussels, for its deal with Russia to build a natural gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea that will send send fuel from Russia to Germany.

“Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia,” Trump said. “Where they’re going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that’s not good, that’s not fair. You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time. I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There’s a lot of anger. I also think it’s a very bad thing for Germany. Because it’s like, what, are they waving a white flag?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, rebuffed Trump’s criticism last week, saying that she had “experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union” and said she was glad her country today, with communist East Germany and democratic West Germany united since 1990, can set “independent policies” and make “independent decisions.”

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, dismissed Trump’s attack on European countries, saying, “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news,” employing one of Trump’s favorite pejoratives for news stories he does not like.

 

The European Union, which last year had a $151 billion trade surplus with the United States, is engaged in a contentious dispute over import tariffs with the United States, imposing higher levies on such iconic U.S. products as bourbon, jeans and motorcycles after Trump boosted U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Europe.

 

 

 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Trump Lowers Expectations for Putin Summit; Slams EU

Just hours ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Donald Trump has both lowered expectations for the talks and issued a stunning rebuke of what has traditionally been one of Washington’s closest allies.

 

“Well I think we have a lot of foes,” Trump told CBS News when asked who he thinks is the U.S.’ biggest enemy. “I think the European Union is a foe. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.”  Trump also said Russia is a foe “in certain respects.”

 

European Council President Donald Tusk quickly responded on Twitter: “America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news.”

 

Trump’s comments were broadcast as he headed for Helsinki, Finland, where on Monday he will hold his first official summit with Putin. Trump says he will use the meeting to find areas of cooperation with Putin, who is also critical of Western institutions such as NATO and the EU.

 

“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. “But I go in with low expectations. I’m not going with high expectations. I don’t really, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.”

He also issued a series of tweets as he headed for Helsinki, saying no matter how well he does at the summit he would “return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough.”

Trump and Putin, according to diplomatic sources, are set to meet one-on-one, with only interpreters present, for 30 minutes to an hour, before wider talks involving aides.

 

On Sunday, Trump declined to say what his goals are for the summit. “I’ll let you know after the meeting,” Trump told CBS.

 

When asked whether he would request Putin extradite the Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic leaders during the 2016 election, Trump replied: “Well I might. I hadn’t thought of that.”

 

The summit comes three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of meddling in election to help Trump win the White House.

Russia has no extradition treaty with the U.S. so it is unlikely that the Russia would turn the intelligence officials over to the U.S. to stand trial. Putin has denied trying to influence the vote.

 

Combative approach

 

Trump’s meeting with Putin will be closely watched — not only for possible deals that may emerge, but also for the personal interactions between the leaders of two countries long seen as competitors.

 

During his Europe tour, Trump has been combative with traditional U.S. allies at every stage — beginning at a NATO summit in Brussels, where he chastised European leaders for not spending more on defense.  

 

Ahead of his meeting in Britain, Trump criticized Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to negotiations about Britain leaving the EU and suggested it could impact a proposed trade deal between London and Washington.  

 

The Trump-Putin meeting is being held in Finland, which is part of the EU but is not a full member of the NATO defense pact.

 

“Finland is one of those countries that both the United States and Russia appreciates,” explained Finnish Defense Forces Lt. Col. Jyri Raitasalo, a professor of war studies at the Finnish National Defense University. “It’s not involved in many of these most intense struggles between Russia and the West.”

 

On Monday, Trump will hold a bilateral meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, who has adopted a pragmatic approach toward Russia and the West.

 

Finland protests

 

Trump arrived in Finland about 9 p.m. local time (1800 UTC) after golfing at his course in Scotland. As in Britain, Trump is being greeted in the Finnish capital with large crowds of protesters.

 

Several thousand protesters gathered Sunday in Helsinki’s iconic Senate Square for a protest that gathered together activists focused on issues including the environment, refugee rights, and anti-war causes.

 

Some of protest signs read: “Dictators not welcome,” “Trump is Satan to the environment,” and “Stop Killing Journalists.”

Ken Bredemeier, Steve Herman contributed to this report.

 

 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!


Trump Talks Re-Election, His Brexit Chat with Queen

U.S. President Donald Trump said he intends to run for re-election in 2020 because “everybody wants me to” and there are no Democratic candidates who could defeat him, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

Asked by British journalist Piers Morgan in an interview Friday whether he was going to run in 2020, Trump was quoted by the Mail on Sunday as saying: “Well I fully intend to. It seems like everybody wants me to.”

Trump said he did not see any Democrat who could beat him: “I don’t see anybody. I know them all and I don’t see anybody.”

Conversation with the queen

Before leaving Britain for a summit in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump breached British royal protocol by publicly disclosing the details of a conversation he had with Queen Elizabeth about the complexities of Brexit.

When asked if he discussed Brexit with the monarch when they met for tea at Windsor Castle on Friday, Trump said:

“I did. She said it’s a very — and she’s right — it’s a very complex problem, I think nobody had any idea how complex that was going to be. … Everyone thought it was going to be ‘Oh it’s simple, we join or don’t join, or let’s see what happens.’”

Speaking of the 92-year-old queen, Trump was quoted as saying: “She is an incredible woman, she is so sharp, she is so beautiful, when I say beautiful — inside and out. That is a beautiful woman.”

Asked if Trump felt the queen had liked him, he said: “Well I don’t want to speak for her, but I can tell you I liked her. So usually that helps. But I liked her a lot.

“Just very elegant. And very beautiful. It was really something special,” Trump said of the meeting. “She is so sharp, so wise, so beautiful. Up close, you see she’s so beautiful. She’s a very special person.”

Trump-Putin summit

During an uproarious trip to Europe, Trump has harangued members of the NATO military alliance, scolded Germany for its dependence on Russian energy, and shocked Britain by publicly criticizing Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.

Trump later apologized to May for the furor over his withering public critique, blaming “fake news” and promising instead a bilateral trade agreement with Britain after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.

Of his upcoming meeting with Putin on Monday, Trump was more guarded.

“I think we could probably get along very well. Somebody said are you friends or enemies? I said well it’s too early to say,” Trump was quoted as saying by the Mail on Sunday.

“Right now I say we’re competitors but for the United States, and frankly the UK and other places, to get along with Russia and China and all of these other places… that’s a good thing, that’s not a bad thing. That’s a really good thing.”