With friends like Trump, who needs enemies? - Donald Tusk

Calvin Saunders
May 17, 2018

"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns", Tusk told a news conference. "We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", Tusk said.

The European Council President kicked off the latest European summit, held in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, telling reporters Mr Trump had become a far from useful ally who acts with "capricious assertiveness".

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

They backed plans to offer concessions if the United States gives Europe a permanent exemption from the tariffs, but added that the "EU will not negotiate with a gun at its head".

That came a day after many European newspapers featured dueling photographs on their front pages: the beaming visage of first daughter Ivanka Trump opening the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and the smoky carnage an hour's drive away in Gaza, where scores of Palestinian protesters were killed by the Israeli military. "This means a permanent exemption from USA tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the U.S".

"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 United States", he continued.

On Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, a move the European Union has warned could spark a trade war, Tusk urged the leaders to keep a unified front. Germany is Europe's biggest exporter to the United States with more than 1 million jobs at stake.

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"The EU will continue fighting for a rules-based global system despite recent decisions on climate change, tariffs and Iran", the source said after the leaders met over dinner in Sofia.

There is likely to be little or no Brexit discussions as the British Prime Minster alongside Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron will "present their assessment of the situation" surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, according to Mr Tusk.

The EU's top energy official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is heading to Iran on May 18-21 for talks on energy cooperation, a symbolic gesture from the EU that it wants to stay engaged despite the USA withdrawal. The shifting desires make it almost impossible to negotiate with the White House, many diplomats say, because they can not strike a bargain to get close to what Trump wants when he doesn't know it himself. It is expected to notify the WTO of its potential plans this week.

The Commission has mooted the idea of negotiating an agreement with the United States to lower import duties, but only once the permanent exemption is granted.

According to the source, they reaffirmed that they will "not negotiate with a gun at its head", but they said they are ready to talk with the U.S. once its decides on a permanent tariffs exemption for the EU.

He then added that the European Union needed to prepare for the negative impact this U.S. decision could have on their continent.

Total said it would wind down operations linked to the South Pars gas venture before November 4 unless it were granted a specific project waiver by the US authorities, with the support of the French and European authorities.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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