Donald vs. Donald: "trump has deprived Europe of all illusions"
May 17, 2018, 01:07
"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?".
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, commented on the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, saying: Donald trump has deprived the Europeans of the past illusions.
In a letter to his European colleagues ahead of a summit Wednesday evening, Tusk doubled down on his convictions. "We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".
On trade, Tusk said the USA move to impose trade penalties on national-security grounds was "absurd", since the European Union is a core American ally and does not represent a threat.
"But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions".
European diplomats have sought to play down expectations of Tuesday's meeting, stressing the enormous challenge of finding a way around U.S. sanctions punishing foreign businesses trading with Iran, which have global reach.
'We will decide on the best way forward in EU-US trade relations. The Iran nuclear deal aims to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
Tusk said that at the May 16 dinner, "I will propose we stick to our guns".
"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners".
Options for the EU to protect European companies from negative consequences of the US decision were also needed, Tusk said. The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security'.
Earlier on Wednesday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini briefed top officials at the European Commission on talks she had held the previous evening with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his German, French and British counterparts.
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.
With Trump's cabinet being increasingly populated by the likes of National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who have long pushed for regime change in Iran, the U.S. position is becoming more at odds with those of Europe, Russia, and China. "But we need to be sure that we have done everything in our power, and within the limits of the worldwide trade rules, to avoid a negative scenario", Tusk said. "We did discuss the possibility of applying our blocking statute".
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