Trump helped Europe lose its illusions - Tusk

Evarado Alatorre
May 18, 2018

"I can agree with President Trump when he says that unpredictability can be a very useful tool in politics". It is not a joke now. "It's not a joke, this is the essence of our problem today on the other side of the Atlantic". But only against enemies and opponents.

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?". "The European position is a balanced position between those who have a more bellicose attitude and those who would like to maintain bridges and dialogue with the United States", a European Union diplomat said on the sidelines of the talks in Sofia.

Macron said Thursday in a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria: "We're not going to choose one camp over another".

With this option, European companies were forbidden to comply with US sanctions against Iran under threat of punishment. So far, there was no evidence, after 11 reports, that Iran was not complying with the deal.

According to AP, President Emmanuel Macron is seeking to diffuse the threat of a trade war against the US, despite Paris' disapproval of President Trump's decision to scrap the nuclear deal.

European companies that invested in Iran after the deal are already taking fright, with French energy giant Total warning it could pull out, and Danish shipping giant Maersk and German insurer Allianz also saying they plan to wind down activities there.

Signed in 2015 between Iran and a group of world powers - China, the US, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and the European Union - the deal ended decades of economic sanctions and led to heavy investment flowing into Iran.

If Chinese and European companies doing business in Iran experience losses due to unilateral economic sanctions by the United States, the governments in those countries must protect these businesses' legitimate interests.

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In 1996, the European Union blocked the USA for forbidding its companies doing business in Cuba by threatening retaliatory sanctions against the US. It stipulates that no foreign court judgments based on these laws have any effect in the EU.

The EU's top energy and climate official, Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, is heading to Iran on 18 May for talks on energy cooperation, a symbolic gesture from the EU that it wants to stay engaged despite the USA withdrawal. "It is the duty of the EU therefore to protect European business and that applies particularly to smaller and medium-size businesses".

Exactly a week ago, Trump announced the USA will be withdrawing from the "terrible" Iran deal and re-imposing sanctions that were suspended in 2016 under the terms of the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.

"The Iran issue will probably reinforce China in the region, because the European businesses that can't take on the cost of difficulties on their American markets will leave an important gap for a power that seems to have no problem with taking their place", the source said.

It proved true as both Israel and Iran attacked each other's military infrastructure in Syria just a day after the USA announcement of walking out of the Iran's nuclear deal.

Macron added: "International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their interests".

"If they can not do that, we are ready to take our nuclear programme to a level stronger than before the JCPOA", Ali Akbar Salehi said. The EU remained united on the matter for as long as Iran implemented the agreement and the plan for nuclear disarmament.

"Trump despises weaklings", EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio.

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