Trump opens North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit with blistering criticism of Germany

12 Juillet, 2018, 03:44 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told NPR on Wednesday that Trump makes a fair point that Germany should spend more but is not the first USA president to urge that.

Trump's comments were a remarkable criticism for a USA president to make about a close United States ally and is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and its European allies.

The alliance set a goal in 2014 for each country to reach the 2% of GDP spending target by 2024.

"NATO and the transatlantic geographical area is only a part of what the United States military does".

"Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan".

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used "very direct language" but that all NATO allies were agreed that the cost of defence spending must be spread around and that a year ago had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

His demand that they raise their contributions to 4 percent came as a surprise during the first meeting of this week's Brussels summit.

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Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries".

Trump also misrepresented Germany's energy picture, asserting coal and nuclear power are gone from the mix. And the thing that is really important is that President Trump was nearly projecting what people say about him onto Germany today. The U.S.is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade.

While the United States and Europe have historically been close military and economic allies, President Donald Trump has upended that order by repeatedly taking Europe to task over defense spending and trade while pursuing a closer USA relationship with adversary Russian President Vladimir Putin. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond. "They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.

Even Stoltenberg - a mild-mannered former Norwegian Prime Minister who has cultivated a positive relationship with Trump - appeared reduced to spluttering as Trump cut him off after he started to explain that allies traded with Russian Federation even during the Cold War. Trump said the reality is "unfair" to American taxpayers.

Germany's energy relationship with Russian Federation has long frustrated Washington and Eastern Europe, who fear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that bypasses the Baltic nations and Poland could be used to cut them off from crucial energy supplies.

How did leaders respond to Trump's tirade? The U.S. intelligence community, backed by a Republican-led Senate panel, has definitively concluded that Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

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