Trump at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: 'Germany is a captive of Russia'

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday

President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have met after the USA leader publicly lambasted the longtime ally over its spending on national defense and a Russian oil pipeline.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who meets Trump at the summit, has given political backing to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to import more gas, despite criticism from other European Union governments. "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate". "This has been going on for decades, for decades, it's disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

"But the strength of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is that despite these differences, we have always been able to unite around our core task, to protect and defend each other, because we understand that we are stronger together than apart", he added. The president also imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of items last week, which some lawmakers believe should have required congressional approval.

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. "So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you'll just add it all up, it's massive amounts of money is owed".

Kerry responded with a lengthy statement Wednesday, calling Trump's missives against United States allies "disgraceful" and "destructive".

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She recalled her own youth in Soviet-dominated East Germany and said she was "very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany".

Asked at a news conference about Trump's demands on defence spending, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that the focus should be on getting every member country to reach the current goal of 2 per cent.

The defense minister agreed with Trump about defense spending.

The president's beef was with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany. The president argued this is not fair to USA taxpayers and "we're not going to put up with it".

"I think once the trend started changing in 2014, that created momentum even before he became president", says American University's Martin. On 17 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is demanding that Germany drop Nord Stream 2 as one of the conditions for a trade deal with Europe that would not include high tariffs on steel and aluminium.

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