With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?: EU's Tusk

Lester Mason
May 16, 2018

The European Union must cope with the "capricious assertiveness" of President Donald Trump's administration just as it has to deal with the rise of China and Russian aggression, EU President Donald Tusk said.

"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 President Trump some could even think, 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'"

The US has found itself at odds with much of Europe following its decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed between Iran and the EU, Russia, China, and the US.

It was clear, Mr Tusk suggested, that Washington could no longer be relied upon.

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.

But the EU's hopes have been complicated by the fact that European companies would also be exposed to U.S. sanctions imposed on anyone doing business in Iran.


Washington and Brussels have been at loggerheads over a number of issues since Mr Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, most recently a trade war of aluminium and steel tariffs and the Iran nuclear deal. "But at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios, where we will have to act on our own", said Tusk, a former Polish prime minister. 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. The Europeans, majority United States allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, scoffed, saying they posed no security threat and that it is simply an excuse to break with the rules-based order of the World Trade Organization.

"But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", he added. Tusk said he wanted Europe to "stick to our guns" and described Trump's justification of tariffs on the basis of national security as "absurd".

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to use legislation that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with USA sanctions imposed on Iran.

Mr Tusk said the USA 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.

Trump said the tariffs are needed for national security reasons.

The summit comes after Iran gave the European Union "between 45 and 60 days to give the necessary guarantees to safeguard Iranian interests and compensate the damages caused by the U.S. pullout". "We need to bring reality back into this discussion", he said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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