Top EU official slams Trump: 'With friends like that who needs enemies'

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

EU authorities will present, during an informal meeting that will take place in the Bulgarian capital Sofia various options to protect the economic interests of European companies, following a decision by US President Donald J. Trump to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, a senior European official told the press.

"Besides the traditional political challenges such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration", Tusk said.

"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions", Tusk said.

Previously in March Tusk offered a more conciliatory stance on the economic differences between the U.S. and European Union, urging Trump to "go back" to trade talks instead of waging a "trade war". "Following last week's announcement of the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, we need a united European front", he wrote. The U.S. move has paved the way for U.S. sanctions that are likely to hit European companies doing business with Iran.

The EU's 28 leaders are due to discuss two challenges that Trump has confronted them with: his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the US threat to impose tariffs on metal imports.

The European Commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the U.S., including import tariffs on cars - a bugbear of the United States president - until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium.

In a scathing attack, former Polish prime minister Tusk compared the Trump administration with Europe's long-time adversaries, Moscow and Beijing. In order to be the subject and not the object of global politics, Europe must be united economically, politically and also militarily like never before.

"Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spite of today's mood, the transatlantic bond. But at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own".

But there are divisions over the embassy move within the European Union itself, with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania having recently blocked an European Union statement slamming the U.S. decision. Trump says the tariffs are needed for national security reasons.

"Juncker and [Foreign Affairs chief Federica] Mogherini will present various variants of how to protect the interests of European operators after the departure of the USA from the nuclear agreement", a senior EU official told reporters on May 15 ahead of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia.

European leaders have scrambled to salvage the 2015 agreement in which Iran agreed to halt its nuclear program, a landmark deal that many Europeans see as essential for their security. "We need to bring reality back into this discussion".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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