EU's Tusk slams 'capricious' Trump

Emmanuel Macron left is greeted by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov as he arrives for a dinner with EU and Western Balkan heads of state at the Sofia Tech Park in Sofia Bulgaria Wednesday

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".

European leaders will gather in Sofia to mainly discuss the EU's commitment towards enlargement talks focused around Western Balkan regions, but the US President's actions have seemingly hijacked the agenda.

"Besides the traditional political challenges such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration", Tusk said.

Mr Trump's decision to walk away from the landmark nuclear deal with Iran - to which the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China are co-signatories - is being linked by the European Union with the United States administration's refusal to exempt the bloc from steel and aluminium tariffs. "Following last week's announcement of the United States withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, we need a united European front", he wrote.

"This is why we agreed in March to call for the permanent exemption of the EU from these tariffs and strongly supported the steps taken by the European Commission to ensure that the interests of the EU are fully protected".

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In a scathing attack, former Polish prime minister Tusk compared the Trump administration with Europe's long-time adversaries, Moscow and Beijing. This is the only real alternative. To put it simply: either we are together, or we will not be at all.

Hours before the 28 leaders were to sit down for their summit dinner in Sofia, Mr Tusk said: "Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions".

Speaking on Wednesday, Tusk said he was "grateful" for Trump because he had made the European Union realise "if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm". Tusk said he wanted Europe to "stick to our guns" and described Trump's justification of tariffs on the basis of national security as "absurd".

Tusk also mentioned looking into ways to protect European companies from "negative consequences of the USA decision".

'This means a permanent exemption from U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel if we are to discuss possible trade liberalisation with the US. Therefore US tariffs can not be justified on the basis of national security. "We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today". The contrast has stirred up even more European anger toward Trump's foreign policy, and the Gaza violence is another mark on the agenda for European leaders to discuss during their day and a half of meetings that starts Wednesday.

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