Politics needs ‘professional plumbers’ to stop leaks, says Tusk ahead of G-7 talks

  • European Council President Donald Tusk says politics needs plumbers to stop continued information leaks.
  • Tusk and European Council counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker discuss global approach to trade and climate change ahead of G7 talks.

Plumbers could find they have an untapped line of business in modern politics, according to the European Council's President Donald Tusk, who said the workmen would do a better job of preventing information leaks than some high-level diplomats.

"My impression is that today's diplomacy needs professional plumbers rather than indiscreet diplomats," Tusk said at a G-7 Summit press briefing in Sicily Friday.

His comments come hours after reports emerged in German media that U.S. President Donald Trump described Germans as "very bad" and threatened to block German auto imports to the U.S.

"I don't want to be a part of this new political culture of permanent leaks," told a room of journalists.

"There are too many leaks. I don't want to comment on any leaks."

It is thought that the comments from President Trump were leaked by participants seated within a talk among EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

Tusk and his counterpart from the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, were among those in attendance. Juncker insisted at the press conference that the reports were exaggerated, and instead described the discussions with the U.S. president as "friendly, constructive."

The European Council, like other EU institutions, however, has a well-documented history of leaking information to the press. One such recent leak was the disclosure of comments made by Juncker following Brexit talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, in which he described her as living in a "different galaxy."

An appeal to new G-7 leaders

Heads of state of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading world economies are meeting in Sicily Friday to discuss international relations, trade policies and accords on climate change.

Among them are five new leaders from France, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S.

President Donald Trump (R) walks with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.
Francois Lenoir | Reuters
President Donald Trump (R) walks with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017.

Though the leaders have famously voiced contrasting views on such topics, Tusk said he hopes to "convince our new colleagues around the table that what we need today is solidarity on a global level."

In particular, Tusk said that he will appeal to leaders to reconfirm EU and U.S. sanctions on Russia, which have been in place since the Ukraine crisis and Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

"Since our last G-7 summit in Japan we haven't seen anything that would justify a change in our sanctions policy towards Russia. Therefore I will appeal to the other G7 leaders to reconfirm this policy," said Tusk, in a notable nod to continued rising suspicions of possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump administration.

"Perhaps I am less optimistic when it comes to President Putin and his plans."

Juncker added that he planned to be forthright with the U.S. President on the subject of climate change.

President Trump has famously dismissed the notion of climate change and vowed during campaigning to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a framework set up to reduce its impact on the environment.

"We do think the Paris Agreement has to be implemented entirely and that's the way we will discuss this issue," said Juncker.

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