Trump says Macron's call for European army 'very insulting'

Frederick Owens
November 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron headed toward a potential clash in talks on Saturday after Trump took offense to what he called a "very insulting" comment from Macron about the need to create a European army.

"Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidizes greatly", Trump added, returning to his repeated demand that European nations do more to help fund the Western alliance.

FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects with children at the Ossuary of Douaumont near Verdun, northeastern France, Nov. 6, 2018, during ceremonies marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

At that meeting, Mr Trump would not say whether he believed Mr Putin or USA intelligence agencies about their conclusions about Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election.

Macron also suggested that since the start of Trump's presidency, the USA has been seen as a less reliable ally.

Trump is scheduled to visit two American cemeteries over the course of the weekend, which will culminate with a solemn ceremony Sunday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to France's war dead. "Very insulting", Trump said in a tweet. Trump has repeatedly complained that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are not contributing enough towards the alliance's defense budget and relying heavily on the US.

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Coming just days after Macron called for a "real European army" to reduce dependence on the United States, and with the vocal support of senior figures in Brussels, the coalition agreement will once again raising the spectre of a European Army.

Proposals for a full EU army with a joint command - a pet project of European federalists - remain deeply sensitive, however, among EU members anxious to defend their sovereignty.

Mr. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said Friday in Paris that the USA was concerned about stability in Europe and that Mr. Trump was not shirking from global engagement.

Not on Mr Trump's schedule, despite earlier discussions about the possibility, was an extended meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Early this year, Trump had hosted Macron on the first State Dinner of his Administration.

"I don't think that this defense identity will start with an European Union army", Schinas said on Tuesday. Although leaders like Mr Macron will not likely take kindly to the tone in the U.S. president's tweet. "And we look forward to that", Mr. Trump told reporters Friday before leaving the White House.

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