The European Union's top official launched a stinging attack Wednesday on President Donald Trump, slamming his "capricious assertiveness" and saying the USA leader acted more like an enemy than a friend.
US President Donald Trump has "rid Europe of all illusions" by quitting the Iran nuclear deal and driving trade disputes, the European Union chairman said on Wednesday, underlining the depth of trans-Atlantic discord.
Tusk even compared the USA administration to Europe's traditional foes Moscow and Beijing as he launched his broadside hours before a dinner of the 28 leaders in Sofia where they will discuss the issue.
He also added that "looking at the last trump, someone could even think that such friends do not need enemies".
But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump. "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 United States president.
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.
According to the source, they reaffirmed that they will "not negotiate with a gun at its head", but they said they are ready to talk with the U.S. once its decides on a permanent tariffs exemption for the EU. "But at the same time, we must be prepared for those scenarios, where we will have to act on our own", said Tusk, a former Polish prime minister. "This is the only real alternative". Trump has also broken with a key global principle of Middle East peace efforts by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton indicated on Sunday that the US would be willing to impose sanctions on any European companies that continue to work or do business with Iran.
The German chancellor has also voiced her anger at President Trump, and said earlier this week that while the deal was not optimal it did serve a purpse. "It's a moment of truth for Europe", he said.
'We will decide on the best way forward in EU-US trade relations.
The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions.
The US has broken with the European Union on other issues besides the Iran deal - Trump has also pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium on trading partners.
"I will propose we stick to our guns", Tusk said.
The EU will continue to support the Iran deal "as long as Iran respects the deal" but will address U.S. concerns over Iran's role in the Middle East crisis and its ballistic missile programme.
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.