EU news: European leaders RAIL AGAINST Donald Trump and US | World | News


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EU news: Anger with Donald Trump and US grows amongst European Union leaders

EU leaders gathering at the bloc’s Western Balkans summit in Sofia have been keen to put the oar in on the US President after he pulled Washington’s support for the Iran nuclear deal and threatened to impose trade tariffs on Brussels.

Mr Trump shocked EU leaders when he decided to endanger European business with Tehran by pulling out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and threatening more sanctions on the Middle Eastern state.

Washington has also been wrangled in a trade war with Brussels after deciding to impose trade tariffs on steel and aluminium, which could seriously hamper European exports to the US when the temporary exemption expires on June 1.

European figureheads, including Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, are using their meeting in the Bulgarian capital to discuss how to best deal with Mr Trump’s administration.

The French, German and British leaders have held separate meetings as co-signatories of the JCPOA, which lifted economic sanctions on Iran in return for a halt to its nuclear programmes.


The relations are very strained

Sebastian Kurz

Ms Merkel, the German Chancellor, admit the deal is “not perfect” but the pact must remain in place while negotiations continue.

She said: “We also, of course, addressed the question of JCPOA, the Iran deal and everyone in the European Union agrees that this deal is not perfect, but that we should stick to this deal and that we should negotiate further with Iran on this basis on other topics, like for example the ballistic missile programme.”

Mr Macron is hoping the EU can work together to keep the existing agreement alive “so our businesses can remain” doing business in Iran.

The French President agreed work had to be done alongside the current deal to “pursue negotiations on a vital broader agreement”.

He said: “The 2015 agreement needs to be completed by a nuclear agreement beyond 2025, an agreement on ballistic activities and Iran’s regional presence.”

While most leaders aired their disagreement with Mr Trump’s Iran policy, some went further landing direct attacks on the US President.

European Council President Donald Tusk suggested the American had become a bad friend to Brussels with his unreliability on the world stage.

The EU’s most senior official said: “Besides traditional political challenges, such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russia, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration.

“Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think: with friends like that, who needs enemies?

“But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful for 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.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz continued on in the same vein, praising Mr Tusk’s comments, and warning Mr Trump he and other EU leaders would not allow to endanger European interests.

The 31-year-old Austrian leader said: “Well, the relations are very strained. The President of the Council Donald Tusk pointedly summarised it quite well what we are currently experiencing.

“On one hand a very unpredictable American policy and on the other hand an American policy which simply endangers our economic interests in Austria, in Europe.

“And we can’t and won’t put up with this. We are living in the 21st century and are not interested in new trade barriers, especially not Austria.”

After Mr Tusk said Europe would not negotiate with a “gun to its head”, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel echoed the sentiment.

He said: “ Donald Trump and his administration have taken unilateral measures, contrary to the economic interests of the EU.

“We have a common history, with common values with the United States.

“We would like Trump to open a new chapter in the international relationship with the EU, we do not want to negotiate under threat.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MARIA ORTEGA AND MONIKA PALLENBERG

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