Emmanuel Macron rubbishes Donald Trump's increased North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending claim

Emmanuel Macron rubbishes Donald Trump's increased North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending claim

At the start of two days of meeting with NATO leaders, Mr. Trump signaled he would push the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to raise its defense-spending target-currently obliging members to spend 2% of economic output on defense-to as high as 4%. "Now maybe there's a bit more urgency now because he's blunter than his predecessors in criticizing his European partners".

Citing the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, he said: "Secretary Stoltenberg gives us total credit, meaning me, I guess, in this case, total credit". (It's one of three countries to have passed a law mandating an increase to 2 percent.) Since Trump began advocating for countries to hit that goal, 16 have increased spending relative to GDP by at least 5 percent; six of those countries had already increased by at least 5 percent during the two prior years as well.

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that, "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation". "Further challenges, like we see them in Syria and Iraq with IS and other terrorist threats, have been added".

In a face-to-face meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany later in the day on the sideline of the summit meeting, Trump was more conciliatory, saying the two had a "very, very good relationship". "And the good thing is that, very much because of that very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand this need to do that", Stoltenberg said after being repeatedly asked about Trump's assertion that members had agreed to a 4 per cent increase.

Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent".

She said: "I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union". Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, the centre of the protests.

More broadly, his performance, leavened at times by a more reassuring tone, left his fellow leaders struggling anew to judge whether he was posturing to win a better deal for the United States, moving to weaken institutions at the heart of the post-World War II order, or both. He described USA allies in the region as "afraid about what our president might agree to", and he told reporters he "very much" shares their worries.

But French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters the alliance had not agreed to anything new during the meeting.

We have realized this since the attack on Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday. "You know, he's done so well in his negotiations", he said, "I'm not about to second-guess how he's doing it".

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