Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

European Union demands an end to Trump tariff threats

The EU leaders discussed Iran at a meeting in Bulgaria, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said, adding the bloc would start measures on Friday to ease the effect of the United States sanctions on European companies.

As the bloc paved the way for retaliation, its 28 leaders meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia made a rare demonstration of unity in the face of what EU President Donald Tusk called the "capricious assertiveness" of the Trump administration.

The Commission will now seek to negotiate a permanent exemption from U.S. tariffs.

U.S. 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.

Europe's mood is shifting from shock at Trump's "America First" agenda to a resolve to close ranks and assert its own position.

Macron spoke as the world's largest container shipping firm, A.P. Moller-Maersk, followed the French oil major in saying it would quit Iran, denting EU efforts to save the nuclear accord with Tehran and protect European companies doing business with the Islamic Republic.

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On Wednesday, asserting Europe's growing readiness to distance itself from its transatlantic ally, Tusk launched a stinging criticism of the USA president, saying that "with friends like that, who needs enemies".

"We've had a vibrant discussion on Iran".

The EU's proposals are its most assertive yet in dealing with the United States, whose withdrawal from the 2015 agreement threatens to scupper the treaty and has anxious leaders it could put Iran back on a path to developing nuclear weapons.

"I don't know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran)", Skou said.

Hu Weijia - EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday to discuss the Iran nuclear deal. The US dollar's overwhelming position of dominance in the global financial system is one prominent example.

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