Even at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, President Trump presses trade complaints about Europe

Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the leaders had agreed "that we need to deliver on our commitments".

While some diplomats say they are concerned Trump could condition U.S. help on the 2% spending threshold, others worry the President could scale back a planned funding increase for a European deterrence program. Such considerations, he outlined on Twitter.

Still, Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz suggested that Trump has a point on the Nord Stream pipelines.

In office since January 2017, the U.S. president has been openly critical of many of NATO's practices, with most of his ire focusing on Washington spending relatively more money than other member states.

Brussels and ebroidery harshly criticized the trade war of the U.S. against other countries, and on June 22 entered into force on penalty duties on European Union goods, a number of United States in the amount of €2.8 billion per year.

He said Germany was "a captive of Russian Federation because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia", taking aim at the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised. If Merkel is willing to let Germany's pre-eminent position in Europe do the talking for her, Trump wants to push America's No. 1 position on the global stage -and will take care of all the talking too.

Trump said: "If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russian Federation".

Just hours after Trump's comments, Merkel fired back, saying she lived in East Germany under Soviet control, and that things are different now. That's "70 to 90 percent to protect Europe", said President Trump.

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Trump, who landed in Belgium during the middle of the soccer-mad nation's World Cup semifinals match, will head to London in between, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union. "We're protecting everybody. And yet we're paying a lot of money to protect".

"The notion that America First Trump so obviously supports Brexit and one of its populist proponents is bound to give real pause for a lot of people, who are likely to conclude that if it's that great for the USA, then it will be at the expense of the U.K". The president has doubled down on criticisms of European allies in recent weeks, arguing that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have not been contributing their fair share to the organization's defense budget, calling for every one of the organization's 29 countries to pay at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product toward its military. The official agenda includes a plan for increasing the number of land, air and sea forces capable of reacting quickly in a European crisis, but overshadowing it are tensions generated by Trump's view that the Europeans are slackers leaning unfairly on the USA military. "I have great confidence they'll be spending more". "Who would think?" he told reporters.

"Part of the game theory of an alliance is signaling.to rivals and to your partners that you'll stand up. for your allies", Holland said.

Taking numerous questions from the worldwide press corps, Trump offered a preview of his meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he described as "a competitor".

Yet this year's meeting comes at a tense time for transatlantic relations-and not only because the president is set to sit down one-on-one with Russian president Vladimir Putin on May 16 in Helsinki.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", he added.

Ahead of the meeting, European Council President Donald Tusk took Trump to task for "criticising Europe nearly daily".

The sheer size of Germany's economy - total GDP in 2017 was around $4 trillion, compared with just $250 billion for Greece - makes it hard for Chancellor Angela Merkel to quickly boost the percentage of GDP spent on defence. He also writes and comments frequently on U.S. party politics and elections and how they shape and are shaped by America's changing place in the world. "It's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump told journalists. This one has actually proven more consequential than other such "commitments" made in the past - most notably on development aid and climate change.

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