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EU's Tusk hits out at Trump's 'capricious assertiveness'

16 May 2018

European Council President Donald Tusk slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Iran nuclear accord and threatening the EU with tariffs on steel and aluminum in by far the harshest rebuke yet by Brussels of the unpredictable America leader.

At the outset of a summit of European leaders whose agenda items, point by point, have to do with the flames of crises that many Europeans see as ignited by President Trump, Tusk ripped into what he called "the capricious assertiveness of the American administration" over issues including Iran, Gaza, trade tariffs and North Korea.

"Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?". But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump. "He made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm". "But frankly, European Union should be grateful", Tusk tweeted. Trump has also broken with a key worldwide principle of Middle East peace efforts by moving the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would exit the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reinstate the previously lifted sanctions on Iran.

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was willing to use legislation that would make it illegal for European companies to comply with U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.

Mr Tusk said the U.S. appeared to be hesitating in hitting European companies doing business in Iran with sanctions, but the bloc still needed to be ready to protect its interests.

'With friends like that, who needs enemies?' European Council president asks. Therefore U.S. tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence". And Mr. Trump's decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the United States Embassy to the holy city were made despite European opposition.

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 U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

"It's a moment that sends a shiver down your spine. We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today".

Trump's moving of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this week has also upset many in Europe, though the European Union has failed to condemn the move squarely due to opposition from the Czech Republic and Hungary, which are strongly pro-Israel.

EU's Tusk hits out at Trump's 'capricious assertiveness'