`With Friends Like That:' EU's Tusk Blasts Trump's Europe Stance

Nellie Chapman
May 16, 2018

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.

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.

"Someone could even think 'with friends like that, who needs enemies?'" reads the tweet from EU Council president Tusk - adding, "thanks to him (Trump), we got rid of all illusions".

"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 in a letter to the leaders.

European Council President Donald Tusk lashed out at the United States president, blasting his decision to pull out from the Iranian nuclear deal and stirring up trade disputes with other countries, and lamenting that one does not need enemies with friends like Trump.

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions. But they are expected to continue to adhere to the provisions of the deal and to consider options to shield European investments in Iran, which many EU nations hope to benefit from.

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Tusk spoke about the Iran nuclear deal in further detail while also outlining a few other issues he had with the current leader of the United States in his prepared remarks. "We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".

The break with the USA over the Iran deal is just the latest in a series of major breaches in the transatlantic relationship.

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 U.S. producers from unfair competition and boost national security. The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security'. But at the news conference in Sofia, he was clearly not in any joking mood. Leaders on Wednesday plan to discuss whether to direct European Union businesses to defy USA sanctions against Iran, an unusual measure with uncertain chances of success that would nevertheless be a diplomatic blow to Washington.

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

"We notably discussed concrete practical solutions to make sure the European Union can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations", said Avramopoulos, the EU's migration commissioner.

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