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U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at European allies before a NATO anniversary summit in London on Tuesday, singling out Frances Emmanuel Macron for “very nasty” comments on the alliance and Germany for spending too little on defence.
Underlining the breadth of strife in a transatlantic bloc hailed by its backers as the most successful military alliance in history, Trump demanded that Europe pay more for defence and also make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.
The attack echoed a similar tirade by Trump ahead of NATOs last summit in July 2018. It will add to the growing doubts over the future of the 29-member alliance, described last month by Macron as “brain dead” in the run-up to a London meeting intended to be a 70th anniversary celebration.
“Its a tough statement, though, when you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to essentially 28, including them, 28 countries,” Trump told reporters as he met the head of NATO in London.
Explicitly linking his complaint that Europe does not pay enough for NATOs security missions to his staunch “America First” defence of U.S. commercial interests, Trump said it was time for Europe to “shape up” on both fronts.
“Its not right to be taken advantage of on NATO and also then to be taken advantage of on trade, and thats what happens. We cant let that happen,” he said of transatlantic disputes over everything from the aerospace sector to a European “digital tax” on U.S. technology giants.
Dismissing recent signals from Germany that it was ready to do more to match a NATO target of spending two percent of national output on defence, Trump accused it and other nations which spend less than that of being “delinquent”.
Erdogan threat on Baltics plan
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who shared omelette and sausages with Trump at their breakfast meeting, tweeted that the pre-summit talks had got off to an “excellent start”.
But the U.S. leaders broadside came only hours after splits opened up elsewhere in the alliance, with Turkey threatening to block a plan to defend Baltic states unless the alliance backs it in recognising the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.
The YPGs fighters have long been U.S. allies on the ground against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey considers them an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.
“If our friends at NATO do not recognise as terrorist organisations those we consider terrorist organisations… we will stand against any step that will be taken there,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said before travelling to London.
Erdogan, who has already strained alliance ties with a move to buy Read More – Source