Trump rails against Germany, demands allies double North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

This week's two-day summit, beginning on Wednesday at Nato's new headquarters in the Belgian capital, is expected to be dominated by USA demands for increased spending by other members of the 29-nation alliance.

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for particular criticism.

"On top of that Germany is just paying just a little bit over 1 percent of GDP on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence contributions whereas the United States is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP".

"He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent", Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani will be present for the second day of talks, and Nato's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hopes the bloc will agree to fund Afghan security forces until 2024.

During a working breakfast that marked the start of the summit, Trump claimed Germany is "controlled" by Russian Federation due to an energy partnership between the two countries.

"And the meeting next week in Helsinki between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will confirm that Ukraine is on the frontline of European and transatlantic politics", the president wrote.

In 2017, the United States spent 3.1 percent of its GDP on defense, while Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom stand as the only countries which have crossed the two percent threshold.

Trump arrived on the back of a barrage of criticism of Europe on issues ranging from trade to energy and above all his claims that the continent freeloads on the back of America for its defence.

The U.S., which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP. "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany", he said. "We'll see how that goes". "This has been brought up by other presidents". "NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out".

"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News.

Mr Trump said countries needed to "step up, not over a 10-year period, they have to step up immediately" adding that other United States presidents had raised the issue but "did not do anything about it".

"How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?"

Nato's secretary-general said the primary focus should be on all members reaching the current target of 2%. "And I think that leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".

Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier today.

"[Russia is] trying to sneak offshore, go through the Baltic Sea, come on shore in Germany, not get caught bribing governments or the European Union to get the pipeline over land", he said. We pay far too much and they pay far too little.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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