If this sticks, it would mark a rare show of spunk by the EU in its relations with the US. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Following our discussion of Europe’s angry response to Trump’s unilateral Iran sanctions, in which European Union budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger made it clear that Europe will not be viewed as a vassal state of the US, stating that “Trump despises weaklings. If we back down step by step, if we acquiesce, if we become a kind of junior partner of the US then we are lost”, moments ago Reuters reported that the European Commission is set to launch tomorrow the process of activating a law that bans European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions against Iran and does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties.
“As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996. We will do that tomorrow morning at 1030,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
Speaking at news conference after a meeting of EU leaders in Bulgaria, Juncker added that he “also decided to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies’ investment in Iran. The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation will Iran.”
Europe’s hardline position will infuriate Trump, as Brussels effectively nullifying US sanctions will prompt a violent outburst from Trump, who needs Europe on his side for US sanctions of Iran to have any chance of succeeding.
Perhaps sensing what is coming, French President Emmanuel Macron took a slightly softer tone, and said that the French defense of Iran nuclear accord is based on concerns about security and stability, not commerce, and that the deal should be supplemented and it is necessary to continue negotiations, including on missile program.
The French president said that “the European Union decided to preserve the nuclear deal and defend EU companies” adding that “our main interest in Iran is not in trade, but in ensuring stability in the region, at the same time, we will not become an ally of Iran against the US.”