European Union head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal

European Council President Donald Tusk lashed out at the USA 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 EU's 28 leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for a dinner discussion Wednesday on how to salvage the Tehran accord and European business dealings with Iran, from Trump's sanctions to how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States.

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 are troubled by Trump's "America first" rhetoric and inconsistent statements on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would exit the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reinstate the previously lifted sanctions on Iran.

US President Donald Trump has placed import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium on grounds of national security, but has temporarily exempted European Union producers until June 1, depending on the outcome of talks.

In a scathing attack, former Polish prime minister Tusk compared the Trump administration with Europe's long-time adversaries, Moscow and Beijing. But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. This is the only real alternative.

Tusk added that Europe must protect the "transatlantic bond", but be prepared to act on its own, with "more political unity and determination".

The leaders of the European Union member states are in Sofia to discuss the western Balkans and digital innovation, but the agenda has been hijacked by the need to respond to Mr Trump.

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to use legislation that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with United States sanctions imposed on Iran.

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.

The EU has called for "utmost restraint" after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during clashes and protests along the Gaza border against the opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem, the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said. "The EU and USA are friends and partners, therefore U.S. tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said.

"We knew that there was a great risk, that this decision to move moving the embassy would bring less security, bring tragedies, and sadly we were right", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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