European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday castigated President Donald Trump and the actions he's taken to withdraw from both the Paris Climate Agreement and Iran nuclear deal, saying, "with friends like that who needs enemies?"
At the outset of a summit of European leaders whose agenda items, point by point, have to do with the flames of crises that many Europeans see as ignited by President Trump, Tusk ripped into what he called "the capricious assertiveness of the American administration" over issues including Iran, Gaza, trade tariffs and North Korea. "Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump some could even think, 'With friends like that, who needs enemies?'"
"Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".
Tusk said EU leaders would use the summit to discuss the Iran deal along with innovation, the European future for the western Balkans, and Trump's trade policies.
The Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015 after Tehran, Russia, the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, and Germany agreed on a detailed, 159-page agreement that established a series of limitations on Iran's nuclear programme that would keep the Islamic Republic from developing weapons-grade plutonium in exchange for the lifting of crippling worldwide sanctions.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated on Sunday that the US would be willing to impose sanctions on any European companies that continue to work or do business with Iran.
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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: "Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spit of today's mood, the transatlantic bond, but at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own". Tusk told reporters in English ahead of a summit in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Tusk also mentioned looking into ways to protect European companies from "negative consequences of the United States decision".
"I want leaders to reconfirm that the European Union sticks to the deal as long as Iran does". "It is absurd to even think that the European Union could be a threat to the US".
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. 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". "We need to bring reality back into this discussion".