President Donald Trump launched an angry broadside against his European allies ahead of a NATO summit in London on Tuesday, singling out France’s Emmanuel Macron for “very nasty” comments on the alliance and Germany’s shortfall on funding commitments, Reuters reports.
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 defense and also make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.
The attack echoed a similar volley of abuse by Trump ahead of NATO’s July 2018 summit. It will add to the growing doubts over the future of the bloc, described by Macron as “brain dead” in the run-up to a London meeting intended to be a 70th anniversary celebration, Reuters adds.
“It’s 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 NATO’s security missions to his staunch “America First” defense of U.S. commercial interests, Trump said it was time for Europe to “shape up” on both fronts.
“It’s not right to be taken advantage of on NATO and also then to be taken advantage of on trade, and that’s what happens. We can’t 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 defense, Trump accused it and other nations which spend less than that target of being “delinquent”.
The Trump attack came only hours after divisions opened up elsewhere in the alliance, with Turkey vowing to oppose a NATO plan to defend Baltic countries unless the alliance backs it in recognizing the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.