French President Francois Hollande has responded to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of the European Union by saying that the EU "has no need for outside advice" on its affairs.
"Europe will be ready to pursue transatlantic cooperation, but it will based on its interests and values," Hollande said at a January 16 ceremony in Paris for outgoing U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.
"It has no need for outside advice to tell it what it has to do," Hollande said.
In a wide-ranging interview with London's The Times newspaper and the German publication Bild published on January 15, Trump praised the impending British "Brexit" from the European Union and said he thinks that the bloc's liberal immigration policy toward refugees could lead to other countries leaving the EU.
Trump criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for allowing many undocumented migrants to enter Germany since 2015.
Merkel reacted by saying the EU had to take responsibility for itself. "We Europeans have our fate in our own hands," she said in Berlin.
"I am personally waiting for the inauguration of the U.S. president," Merkel said regarding Trump’s statement.
"Then of course we will work with him on all levels."
Meanwhile, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described Trump's criticism as "inappropriate."
"I thought, frankly, it was inappropriate for a president-elect of the United States to be stepping into the politics of other countries in a quite direct manner," Kerry said in an interview with CNN.
Kerry defended Merkel as "one of the strongest leaders in Europe" and "most important players with respect to where we are heading."
Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th U.S. president on January 20.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP