During a summit dinner, the president of the European Council laid out his concerns that the “immense pressure” the Trump administration is exerting on the North Atlantic Alliance could lead to its collapse.
“Despite our tireless efforts to keep the unity of the West, transatlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump,” he said.
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According to The Times, Tusk called on EU leaders to “go beyond” discussions on US steel and aluminum tariffs and consider a potential break-up of NATO.
“Unfortunately, the divisions go beyond trade. It is my belief that while hoping for the best we must be ready to prepare our union for worst-case scenarios,” he said.
Trump’s remarks at the G7 summit earlier this month, where he said that NATO was “as bad as NAFTA” and was “too costly for the US,” have spread fears throughout Europe that he could use next month’s alliance meeting in Brussels to cut defense funding. After instructing US representatives not to sign the G7 joint communiqué, he linked European trade surpluses with the US to NATO’s future.
Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades, while our Farmers, Workers & Taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay? Not fair to the PEOPLE of America! $800 Billion Trade Deficit…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 июня 2018 г.
….And add to that the fact that the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO-protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost-and laugh!). The European Union had a $151 Billion Surplus-should pay much more for Military!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 июня 2018 г.
….Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 11 июня 2018 г.
This has prompted heated discussions among EU leaders, who will reportedly agree to boost defense spending and bolster cooperation in order to reduce their dependence on American support for NATO.
“Europe must take greater responsibility for its own security. The union is therefore taking steps to bolster European defense, by enhancing defense investment, capability development and operational readiness,” The Times cited a draft communiqué as reading.
The union struck back with tit-for-tat tariffs, having adopted a law targeting $3.2 billion worth of US products, including motorbikes, speedboats, denim jeans, cigarettes, etc.
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Trump has repeatedly stressed that the other members of NATO should pay their "fair share" and pointed out that only five of the 29 member states were allocating 2 percent of their GDP to defense, which was “insufficient to close gaps in modernizing, readiness and the size of forces."