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Bulgarian Foreign Minister: EU remains united over Iran nuclear deal

18 May 2018

"The EU is even ready to talk about trade liberalization with our American friends but only if the US decides an unlimited exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs", said EU Council President Donald Tusk after chairing the summit.

Trump hasn't cared for any discussions with other major powers and took a unilateral decision which would not only cripple Iran's economy by means of new sanctions but also embolden the hardliners in that country who would pursue a desperate and risky path to disaster.

The EU faced the most serious breakdown in memory in its relations with its old ally, Tusk warned; it was challenge that would test the mettle of EU self-reliance.

"We need to bring reality back to this discussion, which is not the case today, " he said.

"I have no doubt that in the new global game, Europe will either be one of the major players, or a pawn". At a meeting on Wednesday, the 28 European Union failed to make any decisions about how to shield their dealings with Iran from United States sanctions.

She said that unless the Iran nuclear deal had been reached, there was a risk of further destabilisation of the region.

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Other European firms are likely to make a similar calculation that the USA market is worth much more to them than Iran.

"Transatlantic ties are and remain of paramount importance", Merkel told the German parliament.

Leaders from several European Union countries said Thursday they're ready to negotiate with Washington on opening up their markets to more USA exports in exchange for a blanket exemption on industrial tariffs.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the dinner on Wednesday night described the state of play in recent talks between trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström and her U.S. counterpart, Wilbur Ross.

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.

Macron spoke as the Commission, which negotiates trade matters on behalf of the bloc, published a law preparing retaliation.

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The year 2018 has been one of US President Donald Trump's offensive diplomacy.

It was the first such contract since Washington withdrew from a nuclear agreement on May 8 and said it would reinstate sanctions on Tehran.

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.

If it gets the exemption, the source said the European Union was ready to take steps including "voluntary regulatory cooperation" with the USA, and working on reform of the World Trade Organisation, after Trump claimed the United States was unfairly treated.

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, in the conflict's bloodiest day in years. Investing in infrastructural and human connections with and within the Western Balkans is in the EU's best interest.

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Bulgarian Foreign Minister: EU remains united over Iran nuclear deal