Arts&Culture

'With friends like these': EU chief tears into Trump

'With friends like these': EU chief tears into Trump

European Council President Donald Tusk lashed out at the U.S. 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.

Nigel Farage issued some words of advice to the EU's Donald Tusk after his outburst against Donald Trump today.

As trans-Atlantic problems mount, Mr Tusk is leading an European Union summit in Bulgaria to address the outstanding issues with the Trump administration which centre on Washington pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and its threat to impose punitive trade sanctions on the 28-nation EU.

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions.

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to a so-called blocking statute that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with United States sanctions imposed on Iran and not recognize U.S. court decisions that enforce American sanctions. Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord and the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran threaten Europe's own foreign policy, which was long complementary to Washington's.

But the reach of the USA financial system, the dominance of the dollar and the presence of European companies' operations in the United States all weaken any potential EU measures. "But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump".

Tusk's unusually biting criticism of Trump on Wednesday highlighted the deep trans-Atlantic split: "Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?".

The European Council president repeated his comments in a Tweet tagging the USA president.

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The letter appeared to confirm fears that pulling out of the Iran deal, which was strongly supported by European leaders like French president Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, could cause a rift in the relationship between the United States and long-standing allies.

"Despite all the difficulties we have these days, the transatlantic relations are and will remain of outstanding importance", Merkel told the German parliament. And my objective is simple: we stick to our guns, ' stated Tusk.

Tusk said earlier that it was "absurd to even think that the European Union could be a threat to the US" in terms of trade.

"We notably discussed concrete practical solutions to make sure the European Union can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations", said Avramopoulos.

The blocking statute was developed in 1996 to counter U.S. sanctions on Cuba, but has not been tested yet.

Behind their message of unity and firmness, some member states seem open to tolerating limited quotas from the United States on metals imports while others want a harder line, diplomats said.

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.


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