Quantcast
Connect with us

With friends like Trump, who needs enemies: EU chief

Published

on

The European Union’s top official launched a stinging attack Wednesday on President Donald Trump, slamming his “capricious assertiveness” and saying the US leader acted more like an enemy than a friend.

EU president Donald Tusk urged leaders meeting in Bulgaria to form a “united European front” against Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and his move to impose trade tariffs on Europe.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tusk even compared the US administration to Europe’s traditional foes Moscow and Beijing as he launched his broadside hours before a dinner of the 28 leaders in Sofia where they will discuss the issue.

“Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think with friends like that who needs enemies,” Tusk told reporters.

“But 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.”

The transatlantic rift has hijacked the agenda of a summit on Thursday at which the EU leaders will meet their Balkan counterparts in a bid to foster closer ties and keep Russia out of their backyard.

European ministers met with a top Iranian official in Brussels on Tuesday in a bid to save the Iranian nuclear accord after Trump decided to pull out. Meanwhile the EU is still trying to win exemptions from tariffs on steel and aluminium exports.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tusk called for more unity in the divided EU — which is set to lose Britain as a member next year — to face the growing challenges.

– ‘Capricious assertiveness’ –

“Besides the 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,” Tusk said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have no doubt that in the new global game, Europe will either be one of the major players, or a pawn. This is the only real alternative.”

The 28 leaders will also discuss the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza after Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, in another move that the Europeans had strongly opposed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tusk said he wanted the European leaders to “reconfirm” that they will stay in the Iran deal, as long as Tehran respects it — although Europe must now find a way to make up for the US sanctions on Iran that Trump will reactivate.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will “present their assessment of the situation” to their colleagues, he said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief will outline to the leaders what measures the bloc could take to shield its now substantial economic interests in Iran, Tusk added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Merkel however said that Europe had no choice but to stick with the ties that have bound it to Washington since World War II.

“Despite all the difficulties we have these days, the transatlantic relations are and will remain of outstanding importance,” Merkel told the German parliament.

Over the dinner of Bulgarian salad, meatballs, buffalo steak and walnut biscuits with berries, May meanwhile was to tell her fellow leaders that Britain was “committed to ensuring the deal is upheld” so long as Iran honours its commitments, her spokeswoman said.

– ‘Stick to our guns’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

On Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, a move the EU has warned could spark a trade war, Tusk urged the leaders to keep a unified front.

“I will propose we stick to our guns,” Tusk said.

“It is absurd to even think that the EU could be a threat to the US. We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today,”

Behind their message of unity and firmness, some member states seem open to tolerating limited quotas from the United States on metals imports while others want a harder line, diplomats said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The violence in Gaza will also be on the agenda as it was “linked to the bigger question of the consequences of the decisions of Donald Trump,” an EU official said.

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 US embassy in Jerusalem, the conflict’s bloodiest day in years.

But there are divisions over the embassy move within the EU itself, with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania having recently blocked an EU statement slamming the US decision.

Wednesday’s dinner will be followed by a summit on Thursday where EU leaders will meet their counterparts from the Balkan nations of Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

Published

on

Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Shep Smith blasts autocrats in first public remarks since leaving Fox News — and donates $500,000 to protect journalists

Published

on

On Thursday, for the first time since exiting Fox News, reporter Shepard Smith gave public comments at the International Press Freedom Awards — and used the occasion to blast autocratic leaders who use their power to suppress journalism.

"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” said Smith. "Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it? Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that."

Continue Reading
 
 

Happy Holidays!

As a special thank you from all of us at Raw, we're offering Raw Story ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. Now 'til Dec. 31st.
Offer Expires In:
close-link