EU's Tusk asks: 'With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?'

039;With friends like that who needs enemies’ Tusk lashes out at Trump

US President Donald Trump arrives to pose for a family photo with participants of the G7 summit during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 27, 2017 in Taormina, Sicily.

Tusk, a long-time critic of Trump, said the European Union needed to be united to face "a new phenomenon - the capricious assertiveness of the American administration". "He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand you will find one at the end of your arm", the European Council president added.

"Someone could even think 'with friends like that, who needs enemies?'" reads the tweet from EU Council president Tusk - adding, "thanks to him (Trump), we got rid of all illusions". Donald Tusk told reporters ahead the EU leaders' agenda dinner for the EU-Western Balkans summit set for Thursday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The US decision to move its embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem and its response to the killing of 60 Palestinians at protests in Gaza on Monday has further alienated the US from its European allies, who have spoken out on Israel's actions.

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The EU is also unimpressed by Trump's decision to place tariffs on European steel and aluminium as part of his "America first" agenda.

He added: "Besides traditional political challenges such as the rise of China, or the aggressive stance of Russian Federation, we are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration".

"I have no doubt that in the new global game", Tusk said, "Europe will either be one of the major players or will be a pawn".

The 28 anxious EU leaders are gathering in the Bulgarian capital for discussions over dinner on Wednesday on how to salvage the nuclear deal and European business dealings with Iran from Trump's sanctions and how to avoid a trade war in an escalating tariff dispute with the United States.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will "present their assessment of the situation" to their colleagues, he said.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also remarked last week that the European Union should replace the United States as a global leader after the latter "as an worldwide actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence". Leaders of all three countries pressed Trump to reconsider his decision.

"Here again, unity is our greatest strength and my objective is simple - we stick to our guns".

The EU has called for "utmost restraint" after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during clashes and protests along the Gaza border against the opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem, the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

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Tusk also mentioned looking into ways to protect European companies from "negative consequences of the United States decision".

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