The president of the European Union said Wednesday that under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the United States is no longer a good friend to the EU but rather an "unreliable ally" prone to acting with “capricious assertiveness”.
Speaking on Wednesday Donald Tusk said he was “grateful” for Mr Trump because he had “made us realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm”.
European heads of state and government are gathering at the Western Balkans summit to discuss the region’s future, but they will also hold talks about how to respond to renewed US aggression on trade and foreign affairs.
Among the issues sowing discord with America’s allies are Trump’s recent decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal, which EU member states hope to preserve; the moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; and potential tariffs on European steel and aluminum.
Mr Tusk said he wanted Europe to “stick to our guns” against Mr Trump’s new policies, and called for a permanent exemption from the metals tariffs. He branded a US move to use national security grounds to justify the protectionism as “absurd” and not based in “reality”.
“Besides traditional political challenges, such as the rise of China or the aggressive stance of Russia, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration,” Mr Tusk said at the start of the summit.
Tusk also said while it’s tempting to think, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”, Europe should be thankful for Trump “because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions.”
“He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.”
He continued: “Europe must do everything in its power to protect, in spite of today’s mood, the transatlantic bond, but at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own. We have enough potential to rise to the challenge, but what we need is more political unity and determination.”