The EU remains firmly committed to the Iranian nuclear deal, and it wants the US to permanently exempt the bloc from steel tariffs.
Donald Tusk, the European Council president said that free trade talks with Washington in some areas would not begin until they issue permanent exemptions on aluminium and steel tariffs for the EU.
“We have achieved a united approach that will strengthen the Commission in its ongoing negotiations with the United States. The EU is even ready to talk about trade liberalisation with our American friends but only if the US decides an unlimited exemption from steel and aluminium tariffs.”
“On Iran nuclear deal, we agreed unanimously that the EU will stay in the agreement as long as Iran remains fully committed to it. Additionally the Commission was given a green light to be ready to act whenever European interests are affected,” Tusk added. This means that the EU will begin to make moves to block the effect of US sanctions on Iran as efforts to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran deepen the transatlantic rift. The decision comes as Russia and China take some of their most concrete moves yet to extend their economic influence in Iran, in the face of renewed US efforts to choke off Tehran.
The EU Council President gave these details when together with the Bulgarian President, addressed the media following the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia. Apart from the US trade issue, and the saving of the Iran nuclear deal the summit also dealt with bringing Western Balkans closer to the Union. The summit marked the first meeting of EU and Western Balkans leaders in 15 years.
In this summit the EU reaffirmed its commitment to its Western Balkans partners, strengthening links between the two in areas such as infrastructure, digital and human connectivity, and encouraging greater cooperation on security, migration and geopolitical developments.
“Today we reaffirmed our mutual commitment to the European perspective for the whole region. As I said during my recent visit to the region, the European Union is and will remain the most reliable partner of the entire Western Balkans. And in very concrete terms we discussed how to improve connections with and within the Western Balkans region.”
The summit brought together the heads of state or government from EU member states and the leaders from the 6 Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo.