The US President is alleged to have made the comments when his French counterpart visited Washington in April – a trip widely thought to have brought the two leaders closer together.
According to The Times, Donald Trump asked Emmanuel Macron during a private meeting: “Why don’t you leave the EU?”
He claimed that France could expect a better trade deal with the US if it was to exit the bloc.
The French President, a leading eurocrat and strong proponent of further European integration, is unlikely to have taken Mr Trump’s question seriously but the remarks represent yet another example of his disdain towards the bloc.
He recently told a rally in North Dakota: “We love the countries of the European Union.
“But the EU, of course, was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank, right?
“We can’t let that happen. Taking advantage of the United States is over.”
Mr Trump’s attempts to discourage further European Union integration, whether serious or in jest, are unlikely to have been met with a warm response across the Atlantic, particularly after the hostile G7 Summit earlier this month.
The US President has made no secret of his displeasure towards the EU and has backed Britain’s vote in favour of Brexit.
It has therefore come as a surprise to French political oberservers that he had encouraged FRance to do the same.
France should leave the European Union, President Trump told Macron in April
Since being elected last year, Mr Macron has made it clear his intention to consolidate France’s position within the EU and promote European integration.
When he took office, he said: “The only path that guarantees our future is the refoundation of a united, democratic and soverign Europe.”
Despite it seeming inconceivable that Mr Macron would encourage the French to exit the EU, Mr Trump’s influence on Europe has been evident as Prime Minister and 27 other European leaders met in Brussels yesterday for a two-day summit.
European Council President Donald Tusk, addressing a dinner attended by the EU leaders, said: “Despite our tireless efforts to keep the unity of the West, transatlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the politics of President Trump.”
The former Polish Prime Minister added he fears the US President is forging a new American doctrine that is hostile towards the current international order.
Donald Tusk said “transatlantic relations are under intense pressure”
In light of a potential trade war stemming from stiff tariffs imposed by Mr Trump on steal and aluminium, Mr Tusk encouraged the EU leaders to go as far as to consider the potential breakdown of Nato.
He said: “Unforuntately the divisions go beyond trade. It is my belief that, while hoping for the best, we must be ready to prepare our union for worst-case scenarios.”
According to The Times, some European leaders share Mr Tusk’s concerns about Mr Trump’s foreign and commercial policies, particularly protectionism and withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal at the end of last month.
One senior EU diplomat at the summit in Brussels said: “We are more and more concerned they are not just incidents. It starts to look like a very worrying pattern.
“A pattern of an American doctrine in which there are no friends only enemies. A doctrine which does not have a rules based order at its centre.
1 of 36
“For Europe it is very dangerous.”
The EU has responded to a looming trade war with its own tariffs on US products, including Harley Davidson motorcycles and Levi jeans.
But last night Mr Trump claimed EU chiefs are looking to start trade talks with the US following his threat to implement 20 percent tariffs on European vehicles entering the country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the EU may try to negotiate with the US “in order to prevent a spiral of trade barriers”.
The latest developments come after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wasn’t sure if he would be able to resolve the row over US metal tariffs ahead of his trip to Washington next month.
He accused the US of wanting to divide the EU in regards to trade, adding both parties need healthy relations with each other.
Speaking after the summit in Brussels, Mr Juncker said: “I will go to Washington and I will present the European point of view.
“I don’t like this idea – the American administration wants to divide the European Union when it comes to trade. This is a competence of the European Union.
“We should de-dramatise these relations. We need these relations. The US needs these relations.
“I am not sure we will find an agreement between the US and the European Union, but we’ll try.”