EU's Tusk asks: 'With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?'

039;With friends like that who needs enemies’ Tusk lashes out at Trump

The European Union must cope with the "capricious assertiveness" of President Donald Trump's administration just as it has to deal with the rise of China and Russian aggression, EU President Donald Tusk said. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions.

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 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. Other signatories to the JCPOA have criticized Trump's decision to unilaterally pull out the deal.

The European Commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the USA, including import tariffs on cars - a bugbear of the USA president - until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium.

The US has found itself at odds with much of Europe following its decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed between Iran and the EU, Russia, China, and the US.

These include protecting European companies dealing with Iran from USA sanctions, which in practice would be very hard, allowing the European Investment Bank to invest there and coordinating euro-denominated credit lines from EU states. 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 EU and USA are friends and partners, therefore United States tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said.

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Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"The EU and U.S. are friends and partners, therefore United States tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security", he said. The Europeans, majority US 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.

"We notably discussed concrete practical solutions to make sure the European Union can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations", said Avramopoulos, the EU's migration commissioner.

Trump's decision to relocate the US embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem will also be raised.

"It's a moment that sends a shiver down your spine".

"We knew that there was a great risk, that this decision to move moving the embassy would bring less security, bring tragedies, and sadly we were right", he said.

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