Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

European Union leader lights into Trump: 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'

European Union leader lights into Trump: 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'

A top European Union official branded President Donald Trump selfish and capricious yesterday as EU leaders met to count the likely economic damage USA policies might inflict on the bloc and to try to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear accord and his order that sanctions be reimposed on Tehran have left European allies scrambling to keep the deal alive and protect their Iranian trade.

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on Wednesday on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions and how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States.

"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies". But frankly, European Union should be grateful.

Trump has placed import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium on grounds of national security, but has temporarily exempted European Union producers until June 1, depending on the outcome of talks. Tusk even compared the United States administration to Europe's traditional foes Moscow and Beijing as he launched his broadside before a dinner of the 28 leaders in Sofia where they discussed the issue. "Now we understand that if we need help, we can get only from ourselves", wrote Tusk.

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"I have no doubt that in the new global game", Tusk said, "Europe will either be one of the major players or will be a pawn".

European Union and Iranian diplomats repeated their commitment to "continued, full and effective implementation" of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was endorsed by the UN Security Council and represents a key element of global nuclear nonproliferation and a "significant diplomatic achievement", European Union high representative for foreign policy Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday. This is the only real alternative.

Over the dinner of Bulgarian salad, meatballs, buffalo steak and walnut biscuits with berries, May meanwhile was to tell her fellow leaders that Britain was "committed to ensuring the deal is upheld" so long as Iran honours its commitments, her spokeswoman said.

Mr Tusk said the United States appeared to be hesitating in hitting European companies doing business in Iran with sanctions, but the bloc still needed to be ready to protect its interests.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron - whose countries are the signatories to the Iran deal along with the US, Russia and China, gave their views on the situation to their colleagues, he said.

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"There is no possibility to have a vision of the EU-US relationship as long as Trump is here", he told this website.

"The EU and US are friends and partners".

"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns".

The EU view is that the first step would be an assessment of what both parties wish to negotiate, and then it would need EU members to approve a mandate.

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