Brussels: President Donald Trump asserted that Germany is “totally controlled” by and “captive to Russia” over a pipeline project during a tasty breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Trump is taking issue with the US protecting Germany when the European nation is making energy deals with Russia.
The president appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would double the amount of gas Russia can send directly to Germany, skirting transit countries such as Ukraine. The project is opposed by the US and some other EU members.
Trump says of Germany: “We’re supposed to protect you against Russia” and yet you make this deal with Russia.
Stoltenberg pushed back, stressing that NATO members have been able to work together despite their differences.
President Donald Trump is pressing NATO allies to bolster their defence spending as he opens talks with leaders of the military alliance. Trump says the disproportionate defence spending an “unfair burden on the United States.”
Trump is saying at the start of his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that “because of me” NATO has raised more than USD 40 billion in defence spending.
Trump says, “So I think the secretary general likes Trump. He may be the only one but that’s OK with me.”
The US president has called upon NATO allies to meet commitments to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.
Stoltenberg says “a strong NATO is good for Europe.”
President Donald Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a summit of the military alliance.
Trump is expected to continue questioning wary NATO allies about their military spending during talks in Brussels.
He tweeted en route from Washington that European counties “want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!”
Trump’s day will include a welcome ceremony, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and a working dinner with some of the same leaders he berated over trade during his last world leaders’ summit in Canada last month.
Brussels is the first stop of a week-long European tour that will include stops in the United Kingdom and a meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.