Many European news media tend to state the fact that the withdrawal of the US from the Iranian nuclear deal has politically cornered the European Union. Even though the decision of the US administration was predictable, Brussels and Europe’s ‘locomotives’ turned out to be unprepared to offer effective response actions. During the recent trilateral consultation, leaders of Germany, France and Great Britain did declare there was a need to protect European companies that cooperate with Iran, but they confined themselves to vague generalities. That can partly be explained with disagreements between Berlin and Paris on the part of what tactics is advisable to choose in the dialogue with Washington. If France still counts on reaching a compromise and arguing the USA into making an exception for European companies, then Germany advocates a hardline approach and, in actual fact, suggests evading the US sanctions. The skeptical attitude of German authorities towards the prospects of reaching arrangements with Washington is quite explainable. Europeans have weak negotiation positions while the White House is not willing to take any steps to moderate the pressure on Teheran.
In the midst of the aggravated contradictions between the US and the EU on the occasion of the Iran issue, a growing number of European analysts bring up a question whether there is any potential in transatlantic relations. Discontent with the White House is growing first of all among German leaders. As significant German news houses note, it is getting highly complex to conduct a dialogue with the United States since the activities of the White House can hardly be named inter-allied or even partnering. Together with that, despite the public criticism of President Trump’s course by representatives of European socio-political circles, many EU high-ranking officials prefer to be modest while speaking out of public view and call for further negotiations with the US. ‘Europe is clearly not ready for reconsidering the pattern of relations with the USA, since the process of creating strategic autonomy that was announced by Chancellor Merkel is still embryonic’, asserted Professor at Regensburg University Stefan Birling.
Almost all observers agree that new steps by the USA to the detriment of the concerns of the EU will give fuel to the process of strategic division of NATO partners. According to Walt, a research associate at Harvard University, Europe lacks determination for conducting independent policy. However, with his activities, Trump leaves little choice but adjusting the course line. In the nearest time, Europeans will have to take an exam of critical importance. In case they fail, the EU is unlikely to stay among leading players on the international scene.