Gordon Sondland said if members states give the cold shoulder to the US over defence contracts, they risked an outcome which would likely not “positive for either side”. Speaking to the Financial Times, the US ambassador to Brussels, criticised what he called the EU’s “stubbornness and protectionism”. Countries including Britain, which will exit the bloc in just 18 days, are concerned over how outsiders will be have only limited access to the multibillion-euro projects.
Mr Sondland said: “If for some reason it’s just a stubbornness or protectionism that doesn’t allow it to be changed, I think the United States has a lot of responses… which I don’t think would be positive for either side.”
Mr Trump’s man in Brussels said he remained hopeful the EU would backtrack on its proposal and, despite the US and the EU not being on the same page on many issues, he insisted the transatlantic relationship remained “very strong”.
Launched in 2018, Permanent structured cooperation, also known as Pesco, aims to further integrate the militaries of member states.
The European Commission has proposed a £11.3 billion (€13 billion) defence fund for 2021-2027.
Third- party involvement in military projects will only be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Mr Sondland, 62, also lambasted Europe for how it is dealing with America’s rival superpower China.
He said that using Chinese-manufactured 5G mobile technology leaves countries vulnerable to Beijing for the next “10 to 20 years”.
Mr Sondland’s comments come just weeks after cyber security chiefs in Germany backed a “no spy” deal with the communist country
The move has left the door open for Huawei to be given the green light to build Germany’s 5G networks.
The Chinese tech giant has been hit with controversy in recent years over fears its technology could be used by Beijing to spy on users.
Although President Trump is at odds with the EU over a number of issues including a trade and tariffs, Mr Sondland said the partnership is not damaged beyond repair.
He added that if couples clash over money “it doesn’t mean they’re going to get a divorce”.