`With Friends Like That:' EU's Tusk Blasts Trump's Europe Stance

17 May, 2018, 03:32 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • EU's Tusk asks'With friends like Trump who needs enemies

European Council President Donald Tusk called here on Wednesday for a united European front against the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think that with friends like this, we need enemies", Reuters cited the European Council President as saying.

"But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".

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.

Trade tensions have been growing since March 23, when Donald Trump ordered to introduce a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tax on aluminum, claiming to protect the United States producers from unfair competition and boost national security.

Mr. Tusk's tweet, however, was one of the more notable, public denunciations of Mr. Trump's decision making by a European leader, as a series of moves on trade, Israel and other issues has increasingly put traditional allies at odds with the administration in Washington. 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". The Europeans, majority USA allies in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, say they pose no security threat and that it is simply an excuse to break with the rules-based order of the World Trade Organization. Therefore U.S. tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security.

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This move sparked discontent among the key USA trading partners, especially the EU.

The EU leaders were also due to discuss the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza after Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, in another move that the Europeans had strongly opposed, but there were no details on that discussion.

The question is can the European Union show a united front, something the UN's chief called for in Brussels, saying "we have the Cold War back with a difference". He is demanding an investigation into the killings of Gaza protesters.

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, in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is calling for an global investigation.

But there are divisions over the embassy move within the European Union itself, with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania having recently blocked an European Union statement slamming the United States decision.

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