Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Even at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, President Trump presses trade complaints about Europe

Even at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, President Trump presses trade complaints about Europe

The comments come amid wide expectations of a turbulent summit-Trump has long criticized the 29-member alliance, calling it "obsolete", and is extremely critical of countries that are failing to meet the target of 2% of their GDP as defense spending.

Earlier, Trump strode into NATO's new headquarters to shake hands with leaders - but only after publicly railing against Germany at a breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg.

Lawmakers in the US seemed to break with the president's attacks, issuing their support for the decades-old organization.

He has taken issue with how only five other nations make the current contribution of two per cent of their GDP. "They're delinquent, as far as I'm concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them".

"We all agree that we have to do more", he said, describing previous year as marking the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in a generation.

Trump - whose presidential campaign in under investigation for possible collusion with Russian Federation during the 2016 election - is set to meet with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

After a later bilateral meeting with Merkel, Trump said he brought up the nat gas pipeline, as well as military spending and trade, with the German leader.

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Before the summit, European Union President Donald Tusk hit back at Trump for his "daily" criticisms of Europe, pointing out that the EU spends more on defense than Russian Federation and nearly as much as China, and telling him to "appreciate your allies". According to Stoltenberg, eight countries would meet the 2 percent target this year and a "majority" put forward plans to do so by 2020 - compared to only three countries who were meeting the commitment in 2014.

While U.S. defense spending makes up 70 percent of combined allied governments' military budgets, just 15 percent of U.S. expenditure is spent in Europe on NATO-related defense.

President Trump publicly criticized Germany over its Baltic Sea gas pipeline deal with Russian Federation, calling the wealthiest nation in the European Union "a captive to Russian Federation". Europeans must spend more on defense. She's your leading economic partner here in Europe.

"We need to look at the history of Putin, whether he's been a reliable energy supplier or whether he's used energy for geopolitical pressure, which he has", Bloomfield said.

Despite his continued criticism of the transAtlantic pact, Trump on Wednesday signed the 23-page North Atlantic Treaty Organisation declaration, along with his 28 other allies, which reaffirmed the two percent goal to be reached by 2014.

Mr Trump said countries needed to "step up, not over a 10-year period, they have to step up immediately" adding that other USA presidents had raised the issue but "did not do anything about it". Afterwards he will spend the weekend in Scotland at his gold club, Trump Turnberry, in Ayrshire.

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