European Union head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal


Despite Trump slamming it as a "terrible deal" before and after taking office, his European counterparts lobbied him not to leave the agreement. But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump.

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".

It was clear, Mr Tusk suggested, that Washington could no longer be relied upon. Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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.

Tusk's comments came as the European Union heads of state meet in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Wednesday and Thursday to explore options to keep the Iran nuclear deal afloat and respond to possible USA tariffs on aluminum and steel.

European ministers met a top Iranian official in Brussels on Tuesday in a bid to save the Iranian nuclear accord after Trump chose to pull out. "This is the only real alternative".

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The French energy giant Total said Wednesday that it will cease operations in Iran by November in order to avoid US sanctions, while the Danish shipping firm Maersk and German insurer Alianz also have signaled their intentions of pulling out of Iran unless the companies secure tariff exemptions from Washington.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will "present their assessment of the situation" to their colleagues, he said.

These include protecting European companies dealing with Iran from USA sanctions, which in practice would be very hard, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest there and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from EU states.

'We will decide on the best way forward in EU-US trade relations. Tusk said he wanted Europe to "stick to our guns" and described Trump's justification of tariffs on the basis of national security as "absurd".

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. He noted in particular "President Trump's announcements on Iran and trade as well as the latest, dramatic events in Gaza".