Donald vs. Donald: "trump has deprived Europe of all illusions"

Pauline Gross
May 17, 2018

Even by the stressed standards of relations between Europe and the United States in the Trump era, European Council President Donald Tusk's Wednesday criticisms were unusually cutting.

Tusk said he wanted the European leaders to "reconfirm" that they will stay in the Iran deal, as long as Tehran respects it - although Europe must now find a way to make up for the USA sanctions on Iran that Trump will reactivate. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions.

"He has made us realize that, if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", he said, according to the Reuters news agency.

The US has broken with the European Union on other issues besides the Iran deal - Trump has also pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium on trading partners. Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord and the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran threaten Europe's own foreign policy, which was long complementary to Washington's.

Trump's moving of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this week has also upset many in Europe, though the European Union has failed to condemn the move squarely due to opposition from the Czech Republic and Hungary, which are strongly pro-Israel.

"The EU and USA are friends and partners".

"The EU will continue fighting for a rules-based global system despite recent decisions on climate change, tariffs and Iran", the source said after the leaders met over dinner in Sofia.

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European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to a so-called blocking statute that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran and not recognize USA court decisions that enforce American sanctions.

"The question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it. we say you can talk better if you remain in it", she told the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.

They backed plans to offer concessions if the United States gives Europe a permanent exemption from the tariffs, but added that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head".

"My objective is simple - we stick to our guns", Tusk said of the expected leaders' discussion on trade.

But the reach of the USA financial system, the dominance of the dollar and the presence of European companies' operations in the United States all weaken any potential EU measures.

Behind their message of unity and firmness, some member states seem open to tolerating limited quotas from the United States on metals imports while others want a harder line, diplomats said. Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Other reports by GizPress

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