Tusk: Trump 'helped European Union rid itself of its illusions'

European Council President Donald Tusk

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.

European Union leaders will explore options on Wednesday for keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive and shielding their reviving economic cooperation with Tehran after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact.

"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump some 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. We realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm", the European Council president said in a Tweet tagging the U.S. president. Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Trade tensions have been growing since March 23, when Donald Trump ordered to introduce a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tax on aluminum, claiming to protect the United States producers from unfair competition and boost national security.

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

The US has found itself at odds with much of Europe following its decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal signed between Iran and the EU, Russia, China, and the US. And he said that the EU would work to develop ways to shield European companies that continue to do business with Iran from any sanctions or other penalties imposed by Washington. "It's a moment of truth for Europe", he said.

Читайте также: Turkish banker sentenced to 32 months in United States prison for sanction evasion

The bloc's leaders will hope to present a united front against Mr Trump in response to his decision on the Iran nuclear deal and trade tariffs.

In dinner talks in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, EU leaders will be briefed on possible incentives to keep Tehran in the nuclear agreement, even after a key player like the USA pulled out.

Previously in March Tusk offered a more conciliatory stance on the economic differences between the U.S. and European Union, urging Trump to "go back" to trade talks instead of waging a "trade war".

European leaders are troubled by Trump's "America first" rhetoric and inconsistent statements on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

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, in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

Some European officials have also suggested the EU trigger a 1996 rule - known as the blocking regulation - which aims to limit the effect of worldwide sanctions with which the EU does not agree.

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