Mon | May 21, 2018

EU chief lashes out at Trump amid new push to save Iran deal

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
European Council President Donald Tusk

SOFIA (AP):

A top European Union official branded President Donald Trump selfish and capricious yesterday as EU leaders met to count the likely economic damage US 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 aluminium 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 US 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-US 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 realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm," Tusk said.