EU's Donald Tusk takes aim at Donald Trump over Iran, steel sanctions

European Council President Donald Tusk

European Union leaders will try to forge a united response at a summit on Wednesday to US President Donald Trump's shock decisions on the Iran nuclear deal and trade tariffs. Because thanks to him we got rid of all the illusions. We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm'.

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.

"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.

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.

Bulgaria, now holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, is hosting the informal working dinner of EU leaders on the eve of the May 17 EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia.

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"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump some could even think, 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'"

In the Bulgarian capital Sofia for an European Union leaders' dinner that will focus largely on the fallout from Trump's recent policy moves, Tusk cited the "capricious assertiveness of the US administration" and said developing a unified response to Trump would be a main topic of discussion.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated on Sunday that the US would be willing to impose sanctions on any European companies that continue to work or do business with Iran.

European leaders were also unable to persuade Mr. Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a failure that weakens efforts to combat global warming.

'This means a permanent exemption from USA tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the US.

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'We will decide on the best way forward in EU-US trade relations. The aim is to counter Trump's reimposition of sanctions on Iran.

The 28 leaders will also discuss the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza after Trump moved the United States embassy to Jerusalem, in another move that the Europeans had strongly opposed.

"The EU and United States are friends and partners".

"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", Tusk said. During a speech on Wednesday to the German Parliament, she also said it would be wrong to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran and called the decision to pull out of the accord "troubling news".

The blocking statute was developed in 1996 to counter USA sanctions on Cuba, Iran and Libya, but has not been tested yet. "We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today".

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