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

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Mr Tusk has always been critical of the American president, even famously saying before the 2016 U.S. elections that one Donald in global politics was enough.

The fallout from his decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal last week continues around the world, and on Wednesday the head of the European Council went after President Trump. Tusk, who is a former Polish prime minister, said in a statement to reporters.

Tusk pointed to some of Trump's latest decisions before concluding, "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. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm". Tensions came to a head with the USA president's decision announced last week to pull out of the landmark Iran nuclear accord which the remaining signatories-Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, along with the EU-say is working and they will strive to keep in place.

"As we know, the United States tariffs on steel and aluminium can not be justified on the grounds of national security", Tusk said.

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Speaking at a Western Balkans summit in Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday, Tusk didn't hold back in his assessment of the U.S., saying European Union members should unite to face "a new phenomenon - the capricious assertiveness of the American administration". This is the only real alternative. "The deal is good for European and global security, which is why we must maintain it", he said. The US withdrawal from the Paris agreement and the nuclear deal threatens unpleasant consequences of European foreign policy-oriented Washington.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence". "It's a moment of truth for Europe", he said.

The EU is also unimpressed by Trump's decision to place tariffs on European steel and aluminium as part of his "America first" agenda.

"My objective is simple - we stick to our guns", Tusk said of the expected leaders' discussion on trade.

Trump's moving of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this week has also upset many in Europe, though the European Union has failed to condemn the move squarely due to opposition from the Czech Republic and Hungary, which are strongly pro-Israel. "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.

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