French President Francois Hollande has urged European leaders to form a united front against US President Donald Trump's stance and remarks that are allegedly aimed at destroying the integrity of the European Union by advocating other nations to follow Brexit.
The French leader made the remarks on the sidelines of a half-day informal summit with six other EU leaders in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, on Saturday, adding that the EU member states should stick to their principles and defend their interests.
"Whenever there are statements coming from the president of the United States on Europe and whenever he talks of Brexit as a model for other countries, I believe we should respond," Hollande said, referring to the outcome of a June 2016 referendum, in which British people voted to leave the EU, commonly known as Brexit.
There are concerns that Brexit would set off a domino effect, with other EU member states opting to withdraw from the bloc.
Leaders of Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta, as well as the host Portugal also participated in the meeting and discussed growing challenges, from the refugee crisis to the low economic growth, at a time when growing populism has intensified political uncertainty in Europe.
In an attempt to strengthen the EU, its leaders have already shown green lights that they are ready to surrender more national sovereignty to EU institutions.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who hosted his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, in Paris, said at a joint press conference that both countries were "concerned" over some decisions made by Trump, particularly his controversial move to restrict refugee arrivals.
"Welcoming refugees who are fleeing war is part of our duty. We must… ensure that this happens in a fair, just way and with solidarity," Ayrault said.
Trump on Friday signed a sweeping executive order, according to which people from seven Muslim countries are barred from entering the United States for 90 days. It also suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until the president determines they have been sufficiently changed.