European Union President Donald Tusk slammed US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as EU leaders gathered for a summit in Sofia to find a common path forward after Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
"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.
The remarks come as in their first meeting since the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, EU leaders were expected to meet to explore options on Wednesday for keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive and protecting their reviving economic cooperation with Tehran.
Tusk told a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Wednesday that "Europe should be grateful" to Trump since he has "rid Europe of all illusions" with the trade dispute and withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Trump's decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear accord risks exposing European countries that have since invested in Iran to renewed United States sanctions, after "wind-down" periods of three to six months expire.
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.
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.
The transatlantic rift has hijacked the agenda of a summit on Thursday at which the European Union leaders will meet their Balkan counterparts in a bid to foster closer ties and keep Russian Federation out of their backyard.
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Trump also said he would reinstate USA sanctions on Iran lifted by the accord and impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Tusk went on to say the Iran deal remains "good for European and global security, which is why we must maintain it - despite the USA hesitation".
In a scathing attack, former Polish prime minister Tusk compared the Trump administration with Europe's long-time adversaries, Moscow and Beijing.
After listing more of their proposals, Nigel finished: "So the whole European project is crumbling, the third biggest country in the eurozone is in open revolt against the whole system and all Donald Tusk can do is say a few sad words about Donald Trump".
The blocking statute was developed in 1996 to counter USA sanctions on Cuba, but has not been tested yet.
"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns".
The European commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the U.S., including import tariffs on cars - a bugbear of the United States president - until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium.
"We need to bring reality back to this discussion, which is not the case today, " he said.