European Union head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal

Blanche Robertson
May 17, 2018

The head of the European Council Donald Tusk on Twitter said that the recent decisions of the US President Donald trump has helped the EU to get rid of all illusions.

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

Among the topics of discussion are the European Union and Iran maintaining and deepening economic relations, effective banking transactions, transportation ties, investments and protections for European Union businesses operating in Iran.

The transatlantic rift has hijacked the agenda of a summit on Thursday at which the European Union leaders will meet their Balkan counterparts in a bid to foster closer ties and keep Russian Federation out of their backyard.

EU President Donald Tusk said of President Trump.

Marking the importance of Thursday's summit with Western Balkan partners, Tusk said the event would be "an opportunity for both sides to reaffirm that the European perspective remains the Western Balkans' geostrategic choice".

European leaders will seek to agree a common stance on Wednesday towards threatened United States import tariffs on steel and aluminium, balancing the views of those most fearful of a trade war and those determined not to be bullied into concessions.

"One thing very clear to us Europeans is that with the nuclear deal in place, we have better chance to address any other issue we have with Iran", she said.

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Foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels on that on Tuesday and tasked their experts to come up with measures for a meeting of their deputies in Vienna next week. "He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", Tusk said.

Some European officials have also suggested the EU trigger a 1996 rule - known as the blocking regulation - which aims to limit the effect of global sanctions with which the EU does not agree.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has strongly backed efforts to develop a collective European approach towards Trump's unilateralism, but she told the lower house Bundestag on Wednesday she remained determined to support trans-Atlantic relations.

They backed plans to offer concessions if the U.S. gives Europe a permanent exemption from the tariffs, but added that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head".

It has also said it would respond to tariffs with its own duties on US products, including motor bikes and whisky.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence".

The opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem coincided with Palestinian demonstrations in which Israeli soldiers killed 60 protesters and wounded thousands of others - the bloodiest day in the Gaza Strip since 2014.

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