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Trump appoints new envoy to EU

May 5, 2020

Ronald Gidwitz has become acting US ambassador to the EU, replacing Gordon Sondland who was sacked for testifying against President Donald Trump. Gidwitz also retains his current role as US envoy to Belgium.

Ronald J. Gidwitz pictured during a visit to the Fooz Awans cattle farm in Awans,
Image: Imago Images/Belga/B. Gillet

Ronald Gidwitz was appointed US ambassador to the European Union on Monday.

Gidwitz's appointment was announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, three months after his predecessor in Brussels Gordon Sondland was recalled for testifying against President Donald Trump.

Trump's impeachment trial before the US Congress ended in acquittal in February.

That was followed by dismissals, including that of Sondland, who had testified to Congress last November that the president had sought a quid-pro-quo deal with Ukraine — directed at Joe Biden, now Democrat party rival for next November's US presidential election.

Read more: Trump removes impeachment hearing witness Ambassador Sondland: US media

Pompeo Tuesday said Gidwitz would "advance a strong US-EU partnership, especially in achieving a speedy recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Gidwitz would also "continue serving” as US ambassador to Belgium, he added.

For the EU, Gidwitz's appointment follows Britain's Brexit departure and multiple rows between Trump and EU leaders.

In March, Trump upset Brussels by unilaterally declaring pandemic-induced travel restrictions across the Atlantic.

Previously he had slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe, abandoned the UN climate deal and a six-power pact to restrain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Gidwitz, a 75-year-old former cosmetic sector chief executive, with links to Chicago, described his additional appointment Tuesday as an honor.

He said he looked forward to "building strong relationships with EU leaders and advancing transatlantic values amid a "myriad of challenges”.

ipj/aw (AFP, AP)

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