With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?: EU's Tusk

With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?: EU's Tusk

"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that, who needs enemies?".

Speaking on Wednesday, Tusk said he was "grateful" for Trump because he had made the European Union realise "if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".

The president of the European Council has attacked Donald Trump's "capricious assertiveness" after the United States leader pulled his country out of the Iran nuclear deal and threatened the EU with tariffs on steel imports.

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to use legislation that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran. Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, said in a statement to reporters.

The 28 European Union leaders are meeting for dinner on the eve of a summit to discuss closer ties with the Western Balkans, but tensions with Trump have hijacked the agenda.

The EU and the United States have traditionally been the closest of allies, working together also via North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

European leaders have scrambled to salvage the 2015 agreement in which Iran agreed to halt its nuclear program, a landmark deal that many Europeans see as essential for their security. "He made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm".

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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.

While European officials have spoken out against Trump's trade actions before, the language used by Tusk marks a new tone in the relationship.

Tusk also signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action at the time as president of the European Council.

"I have no doubt that in the new global game", Tusk said, "Europe will either be one of the major players or will be a pawn".

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

It was crucial, he said, that the European Union stuck to its guns and refused to talk trade with the USA until it received a permanent exemption from punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by Washington on the grounds of national security.

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. "We need to bring reality back into this discussion", he said.

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