Brussels | Donald Trump on Wednesday dismayed US allies in NATO to end up spending 4 percent of their defense spending.
The American president, who arrived back in Brussels, had opened hostilities even before the summit, attacking with unprecedented virulence in Berlin.
“Germany is completely controlled by Russia (…) she is a prisoner of Russia”, he had launched in a tirade of a rare hardness in this kind of rendezvous between allies.
In plenary, he then insisted that allies respect the commitment made in 2014 to devote 2% of their gross domestic product to the defense in 2024 and then asked them to raise these expenditures to 4% of their GDP, according to the report. American executive.
The joint statement adopted Wednesday by the leaders of the Alliance makes no mention of this request.
“Donald Trump began by saying that he had a lot of esteem for the Europeans and, two seconds later, he launched his speech on sharing the burden for defense spending,” AFP told AFP. of Luxembourg diplomacy Jean Asselborn, referring to the 4%. “This accounting approach is a bit absurd,” he added.
“NATO is not a market where you can buy security,” Bulgarian President Roumen Radev added during a meeting with the Bulgarian press.
The atmosphere was not very pleasant and there was some confusion around the table after Donald Trump’s speech, Mr Radev’s entourage said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg evaded the topic during his press conference at the end of the day. “Let’s start already with the 2% for which there is still much to do,” he said.
About fifteen Member States, including Germany, Canada, Italy, Belgium and Spain, are under 1.4% of GDP in 2018 and will be unable to keep their word, which ulcerates the President. American, who then demanded, in a tweet, that the Allies carry their military expenses to 2% “IMMEDIATELY”.
Donald Trump and Angela Merkel had the opportunity to explain themselves during a tête-à-tête after the first working session. The president then changed his tone, ensuring he had “very good relations” with the German Chancellor.
He said he had discussed the Nord Stream gas pipeline doubling project between Russia and Germany, which he strongly opposed, but declined to go into details of the talks.
Angela Merkel said she was “happy to have had the opportunity to exchange views” with the US president. “We are partners, we are good partners and we want to continue to cooperate in the future,” she said.
For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron urged NATO members to “not weaken” the Atlantic Alliance, before speaking in turn with Donald Trump.
After NATO, Putin
The US president has denounced several times the proposed doubling of the Nord Stream gas pipeline directly connecting Russia to Germany and demands its abandonment.
The attack allows him to push a corner in the unity of the Europeans, because this file divides them.
Poland believes that Europe does not need Nord Stream 2. “This is an example of European countries that provide funds to Russia, give it means that can be used against the security of Poland” , said Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz on arrival at NATO headquarters.
EU countries import two-thirds of the gas they consume, which in 2017 represented a total bill of 75 billion euros, according to European statistics. To date, a large third of the gas purchased is Russian, but Europeans seek to break this dependency.
The United States is engaged in a strategy of conquering markets for its natural gas. They exported 17.2 billion cubic meters in 2017, of which 2.2% by LNG carriers to the terminals of the European Union.
The Europeans feared a difficult meeting.
Donald Trump left Washington bellicose mood, declaring, with the taste of provocation that is his, that his meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin scheduled for Monday in Helsinki could be “easier” than the NATO summit .
The Allies wish to have clarification on the intentions of the US President in Finland. The opportunity will be given to them on Wednesday evening during the working dinner.
Donald Trump’s maneuverability against Vladimir Putin will be reduced.
The summit declaration is indeed an indictment against the Russian President’s policy and all the decisions endorsed during the summit are aimed at strengthening the Alliance’s deterrent capacity to counter Russia’s actions.