Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

EU Official Takes Donald Trump to Task: 'With Friends Like That' …

EU Official Takes Donald Trump to Task: 'With Friends Like That' …

EU President Donald Tusk said the leaders in Sofia would "reflect on recent global developments, in particular following President Trump's announcements on Iran and trade as well as the latest, dramatic events in Gaza".

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.

The break with the USA over the Iran deal is just the latest in a series of major breaches in the transatlantic relationship. Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"I want the European Commission to be given a green light, so that it is ready to act whenever European interests are affected", he said.

Trade tensions have been growing since March 23, when Donald Trump ordered to introduce a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tax on aluminum, claiming to protect the USA producers from unfair competition and boost national security.

The violence in Gaza will also be on the agenda as it was "linked to the bigger question of the consequences of the decisions of Donald Trump", an European Union official said.

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The threat posed by Donald Trump's administration has been likened to that of China and Russian Federation by Donald Tusk as he condemned the US's withdrawal from the Iran deal and threat of a transatlantic trade war. Later, Washington extended the exemptions for the European Union, Canada and Mexico for 30 days in order to make time for talks on the terms of steel and aluminum imports.

He added, "The EU and US are friends and partners". Therefore US tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security. It is absurd to even think that Europe could be a threat to the United States.

"We need to bring reality back to this discussion, which is not the case today", he said.

And there's Donald Tusk versus Donald Trump battle going on - played out on Trump's favourite communication tool. "But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".

The EU should also seek ways, together with other partners, to address very real concerns over Iran's ballistic missile program and its regional activities, Tusk said.

"I would like our debate to reconfirm without any doubt that as long as Iran respects the provisions of the deal, the European Union will also respect it", Tusk said. "We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", Tusk said in Sofia, also posting the comments in a Tweet tagging the United States president.

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