Europe must keep trying to work with Trump, WEF president says

The president of the World Economic Forum (WEF) has urged European leaders to continue trying to find common ground with the President Donald Trump administration.

The U.S. and EU are currently on track for a showdown over how to handle one of the linchpins of the global financial system following Trump’s decision to re-impose tough economic sanctions on Iran.

“We are in a situation where there is a more fractured world but in a more fractured world you have to incentivize more and closer cooperation,” Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, told CNBC’s Willem Marx on Thursday.

“There is not enough cooperation and dialogue in the world today,” he added.

EU leaders are rushing to find an alternative solution to the landmark Iran nuclear deal, after Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the multilateral pact earlier this month.

The U.S. president had often described the Iran nuclear accord as the “worst deal ever,” while EU officials continue to believe it is vital for international security.

Alongside the foreign minister of Iran, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the U.K. — all signatories of the Iran nuclear deal — gathered in Brussels on Tuesday to begin discussions on how to keep the accord alive.

When asked whether he believed the U.S. was largely responsible for the current challenges to the transatlantic relationship, Brende replied: “I think we all have to work with the current U.S. administration.”

The WEF describes itself as the “international organization for public-private cooperation.” Best known for its annual meeting in Davos, the Forum seeks to remain independent and impartial.

Aside from Iran, the U.S. and Europe are also currently at odds over trade tariffs. Following the U.S. decision to raise duties on metals, Europe has been seeking a permanent exemption from the higher prices.

Speaking to CNBC, Mariya Gabriel, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy, said that despite the clear differences, the U.S. and Europe are still the best alliance across the world.

“We have our differences, but we know we are the best alliance, we are the most powerful in this world, we have only to win if we continue to work together,” she said.

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