'With friends like these': European Union chief tears into Trump

EU's Tusk slams 'capricious' Trump

EU's Tusk slams 'capricious' Trump

In remarkably frank terms, European Union commission President Donald Tusk squared off against US President Donald Trump in Sofia on Tuesday.

"Looking at latest decisions of [Trump] someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies", wrote Donald Tusk, president of the European Council. Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, said in a statement to reporters.

"This is why we agreed in March to call for the permanent exemption of the EU from these tariffs and strongly supported the steps taken by the European Commission to ensure that the interests of the EU are fully protected".

Tusk's public comments on Wednesday also touched on the new US tariffs on steel and aluminum that are set to bite on June 1 unless Trump grants a reprieve.

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. And my objective is simple: we stick to our guns, ' stated Tusk.

The European Commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the U.S., including import tariffs on cars - a bugbear of the United States president - until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium.

He added, "The EU and US 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", he said.


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.

And there's Donald Tusk versus Donald Trump battle going on - played out on Trump's favourite communication tool. Tusk told a news conference.

"We need to bring reality back to this discussion, which is not the case today", he said.

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.

"But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions".

Tusk said that he would ask three leaders who are signatories to the Iran nuclear deal - UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkelt and French President Emanuel Macron - to present their assessment of the situation following the USA withdrawal.

"Besides the traditional political challenges such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration", Tusk said.

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

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