President Donald Trump responded Thursday to European Council President Donald Tusk's criticism that he's been an unreliable partner, telling reporters the European Union has been "terrible" to the USA on trade and "they can call me all sorts of names".
The EU leaders pledged at the meeting to keep a united front against Trump, whose decisions to pull out of the Iran deal and to impose trade tariffs on Europe have triggered the worst transatlantic crisis since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Russian companies also traded with Iran when United States sanctions were in place before the deal.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief will outline to the leaders what measures the bloc could take to shield its now substantial economic interests in Iran, Tusk added. "We need to bring reality back into this discussion", he said.
"Frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions". The shifting desires make it almost impossible to negotiate with the White House, many diplomats say, because they can not strike a bargain to get close to what Trump wants when he doesn't know it himself.
The work, Mogherini said, is focusing on nine key areas including Iran's capacity to continue selling oil and gas as well as ways to protect European firms doing business in the country.
Trump has bewildered the Europeans by threatening to slap tariffs on EU steel and aluminum exports and reneging on an agreement to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which the EU believes is vital to world security.
However, EU officials say there is no easy way to protect EU firms from US sanctions and that it will take time for the bloc to devise what will likely be a complex mix of national and EU-level measures.
Europe's mood is shifting from shock at US President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda to a resolve to close ranks and assert its own position.
"We all agreed that we have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as quickly as possible", European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the 90-minute meeting. However, this will only be possible if the us government will cancel all trade tariffs on steel and aluminium, which are sold to European companies.
He said: "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".
The EU's proposals are its most assertive yet in dealing with the United States, whose withdrawal from the 2015 agreement threatens to scupper the treaty and has anxious leaders it could put Iran back on a path to developing nuclear weapons.
The Iranian Resistance has said for almost 40 years that only way to stop the Iranian Regime is to impose strict unilateral sanctions on the mullahs and their proxies.
"It is absurd to even think that the European Union could be a threat to the US".
Macron, voicing understanding for big companies anxious to protect their US sales, said France backed proposals by the European Commission to protect and compensate European companies that might be hit by USA sanctions for trading with Iran.