(SOFIA, Bulgaria) — A top European Union official branded President Donald Trump selfish and capricious Wednesday as E.U. leaders met to count the likely economic damage U.S. policies might inflict on the bloc and to try to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.

In a striking rhetorical assault on the leader of Europe’s biggest ally, EU Council President Donald Tusk said, given Trump’s recent decisions, “someone could even think ‘with friends like that, who needs enemies?’”

Trump has bewildered the Europeans by threatening to slap tariffs on EU steel and aluminum exports and reneging on an agreement to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which the EU believes is vital to world security. Trump has also broken with a key international principle of Middle East peace efforts by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Tusk’s remarks, made before he chaired a meeting in Bulgaria of the 28 leaders whose countries make up the world’s biggest trading bloc, underscored the widening gulf in EU-U.S. relations.

Listing Europe’s traditional challenges, ranging from the expanding power of China to the belligerence of Russia, Tusk said: “We are witnessing today a new phenomenon, the capricious assertiveness of the American administration.”

“Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm,” Tusk said.

At dinner talks in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, EU leaders were briefed on possible incentives to keep Tehran in the nuclear agreement despite a key player like the U.S. pulling out. Trump’s decision means that U.S. sanctions, held in check by a presidential veto until now, could soon hit Iran and European companies doing business there.

The options being considered include new credit lines for Iran, increased energy cooperation and the use of EU laws to block European companies from caving in to U.S. sanctions.

The leaders also planned to discuss Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, which could be imposed on the EU after June 1. Trump says the tariffs are needed for national security reasons. Europe’s leaders, most of whom govern nations that are NATO allies with the U.S., say security concerns simply are an excuse to break with the rules-based order of the World Trade Organization.

“It is absurd to even think that the EU could be a threat to the U.S. …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

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‘With Friends Like That, Who Needs Enemies?’ E.U. Chief Lashes Out at Trump

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