European Union leaders ask Trump to stop threatening them with tariffs

17 May, 2018, 14:41 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Donald Tusk the European Union's top official launched a stinging attack ay on President Donald Trump slamming his

Earlier, the United States announced the opening of embassies in Jerusalem.

He said such decisions could make one think that "with friends like that, who needs enemies?"

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on Wednesday on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions and how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States.

It was clear, Mr Tusk suggested, that Washington could no longer be relied upon.

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.

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated on Sunday that the USA would be willing to impose sanctions on any European companies that continue to work or do business with Iran. "This means a permanent exemption from USA tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the U.S".

"Besides the traditional political challenges such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration", Tusk said. "This is the only real alternative".

Previously in March Tusk offered a more conciliatory stance on the economic differences between the United States and European Union, urging Trump to "go back" to trade talks instead of waging a "trade war". To put it simply: either we are together, or we will not be at all.

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"We need to bring reality back into this discussion", Tusk said, adding that the European Union should be "grateful to president Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions. Now we understand that if we need help, we can get only from ourselves", wrote Tusk.

Tusk added that Europe must protect the "transatlantic bond", but be prepared to act on its own, with "more political unity and determination".

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 USA sanctions imposed on Iran and not recognize U.S. court decisions that enforce American sanctions.

They also agreed to "initiate work to protect European companies negatively affected by the United States decision", which involves Washington reimposing sanctions on the Iranian nuclear programme.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker was due to present options to protect European investment, which could include retaliatory sanctions, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest in Iran, and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from European governments.

Total said it might quit a multi-billion-dollar gas project if it could not secure a waiver from US sanctions.

"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore USA tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said. "It is absurd to even think that the European Union could be a threat to the US". "We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today".

"But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump".

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