EU chief Tusk hits out at Donald Trump for 'capricious' policies

EU chief Donald Tusk lashed out at US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing Washington of "capricious assertiveness" in abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and imposing trade tariffs on Europe.

European Union Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday derided the actions of the United States under President Donald Trump as "capricious," noting: "Someone could even think 'with friends like that, who needs enemies?'"

As trans-Atlantic problems mount, Tusk is leading an EU summit to address the outstanding issues with the Trump administration, which center on the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and the threat to impose punitive trade sanctions on the 28-nation EU.

Listing the traditional problems facing Europe, ranging from the expanding power of China to the belligerence of Russia, Tusk said: "We are witnessing today a new phenomenon, the capricious assertiveness of the American administration."

In unusually harsh terms, Tusk said Europe could no longer count on automatic help from Washington as Western allies in an increasingly troubled world.

"Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm," Tusk said, hours before the 28 leaders were to sit down for their summit dinner in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Tusk has long been critical of Trump, even famously saying before his election as U.S. president that one Donald in international politics was enough.

Europe exemplifies the use of multilateral international negotiations, to settle everything from global trade rules to the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Trump's actions to upset decades-old diplomatic conventions with fully-capitalized tweets have increasingly stunned the EU.

Under Trump, the U.S. has walked out of the global Paris climate deal, is threatening to impose punitive tariffs based on national security on an ally like the EU, and has stirred Middle East politics by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

"We need a united European front," Tusk told reporters about efforts to salvage the Iran deal. "I want leaders to reconfirm that the EU sticks to the deal as long as Iran does. The deal is good for European and global security," he said.

He also warned that EU nations should prepare to confront U.S. sanctions that could hit their firms doing business with Iran.

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