EU chief criticizes Donald Trump over attitude to European allies

Donald and Melania Trump

The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, adding: "Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer.

In Brussels, Merkel will defend her decision to raise defense spending more slowly than Trump's goal and seek to maintain the 35,000 USA troops deployed to Germany, which Trump has threatened to pull back. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump's candidacy, and warns of further attempts at interference both in the 2018 midterms and in European elections. And with Trump meeting Putin on neutral ground in Helsinki, Finland for a high stakes meeting on the last day of his four-country trip, experts say allies will likely try to prime Trump for his talks.

Asked about Trump's remark that the UK was "in turmoil", the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister looks forward to showing Donald Trump the UK and talking to Donald Trump about the UK and is confident that he will leave with a very positive view".

As we have written before, Trump is conflating NATO's direct and indirect spending to claim that the U.S.

Trump has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of steel and aluminum imports from China, the European Union, Canada and others, prompting retaliation against U.S. products.

European Union and USA government data put the US trade deficit with the European Union at around $100 billion, including services such as finance, where the United States has a surplus.

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According to an internal European Union memo obtained by Bloomberg and using BEA figures, when including trade in goods, trade in services and primary income from investments, the USA has a 12 billion-euro surplus with the EU. Most allies need to spend more on defense.

Last month, the president even wrote letters to a handful of European countries, urging them to up their defense commitments. The United States, which spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017, now makes up 51.1 percent of NATO's combined GDP. "But I strongly believe that NATO can continue to be the cornerstone of trans-Atlantic security despite those disagreements".

In the run-up to his trip, the president did little to ease European concerns by delivering fresh broadsides against NATO, an intergovernmental military alliance of 29 North American and European countries aimed at countering possible Russian aggression. That means the USA share for all three combined would be around $590 million, at most. "Change is Coming!" Trump said on Twitter in June in posts that specifically called out Germany.

Trump has shown little regard for America's traditional bonds with the Old World, publicly upbraiding world leaders at NATO's new headquarters a year ago for not spending enough on defense and delivering searing indictments of Western trading partners last month at an global summit in Canada. It was "immature" to link the two topics, Ursula von der Leyen said.

Canada is spending just over 1.2 per cent of GDP on defence, significantly below the target. Hutchison said Russian deterrence would be a major focus at this year's summit. "'And it means a lot more to you than protecting us because I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you'".

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