13 Jul 2018

President Trump calls for NATO defence spending to increase

US President Donald Trump has claimed that NATO members have agreed to his demands to increase spending on defence.

Mr Trump emerged following the two-day summit in Brussels to address the press and endorse NATO as he said US commitment to the organisation “remains very strong”. He claimed that other NATO members had agreed to reach the target of spending 2% of their GDP on defence and expressed he would be “extremely unhappy” if budgets did not increase this to 4% beyond this in the future.

The President had been critical of the alliance, accusing other members of failing to hit their spending target and claiming the alliance was a bad deal for the United States. In his twitter post before the Brussels meeting, Mr Trump wrote: ‘Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia. They pay only a fraction of their cost. The U.S. pays tens of billions of dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!’

The President was particularly scathing in his appraisal of Germany over its lack of defence spend and accused the country of having its hands tied by its reliance on buying in Russian energy.

Mr Trump said he was not currently considering the United States’ membership of NATO and felt significant progress had been made between the allies. He said: “We made a tremendous amount of progress today. It has been really amazing to see the level of spirit in that room.”

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