European Union council chief to Trump: Respect the allies you have

Frederick Owens
July 11, 2018

But NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg pointed out that military spending had been rising in Europe since 2014 and members were making efforts to meet the objective, particularly Germany, which is often singled out by Trump for criticism.

Brussels is the first stop of a weeklong European tour that will include stops in London and Scotland, as well as a highly anticipated meeting next week with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Seated across the table from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump vented about Germany for not meeting a 2 per cent spending commitment on defense.

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on US taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War Two.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels that Germany was "used" to Trump's criticisms and that the country could "cope" with his barbs.

She also defended Germany's contribution to an alliance which Trump says places too much burden on the United States taxpayer.

Stoltenberg later said Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree... we have to share the burden more fairly".

As the European Commission announced a settlement with Gazprom on Monday (13 March), officials told EURACTIV.com it was "highly likely" that the executive will approve the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

"The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them".

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He said that of the high-stakes meetings of his trip, "Putin may be the easiest of them all".

He said the U.S. did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that European troops had also fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used "very direct language" but that all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies were agreed that the cost of defence spending must be spread around and that past year had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

Trump, in a testy exchange with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, took issue with the USA protecting Germany when the European nation is making deals with Russian Federation.

On another front, Trump has connected the defense issue with trade, criticizing Europe for a $150 billion trade surplus (though it can also be calculated as $100 billion) and trade barriers.

Trudeau delivered that message during a day-long visit to Latvia ahead of the 29-country military summit, and just hours after Trump moved to disrupt the meeting by casting Russian Federation in a positive light. "So, I think that's inappropriate also".

European Council President Mr Tusk said pointedly that when Mr Trump did meet Mr Putin on 16 July, "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem".

"The United States is spending far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some". Speaking about solidarity, I want to dispel the American President's argument, which says that the United States alone protects Europe against our enemies, and that the USA is nearly alone in this struggle.

New figures published on Tuesday showed that only seven European NATO countries - Britain, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Romania - would reach the 2.0-percent spending target in 2018. That is why we have agreed today to strengthen EU-NATO ties in crucially important areas.

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