European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has ruled out the idea that the EU will complete any talks with the United States by May 1, the deadline Trump has set before his tariffs on steel and aluminum kick in.
“It seems to me highly impossible to cover all the issues we have to discuss with our American partners from now to May 1 and we are asking a permanent exemption,” Juncker said at the summits closing press conference.
“The U.S., by what the president was saying yesterday, is recognizing that the European Union is an entity. It cannot be divided into 28 parts. Thats the good part of the news. The bad part is the U.S. are expecting us to conclude the negotiations we will engage in the next couple days until the first of May.”
French President Emmanuel Macron gave Trump an even brisker rebuff.
“We talk about everything in principle with a friendly country that respects the rules of the WTO. We dont talk about anything in principle when there is a gun to our forehead.”
Standing by his side, German Chancellor Angela Merkel added: “We want to continue the discussions on the basis of WTO rules we all subscribe to.”
Macron continued: “We wont show any weakness in any sector, in any country.” He said the EU would continue working to convince “our U.S. partners” that the “good manner” is not to place tariffs on “friendly powers” but to manage overcapacity and prevent dumping.