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Appreciate your allies, EU’s Tusk tells Trump

11 July 2018

On NATO's old foe Russian Federation, the administration has sent mixed messages by intensifying a US military build-up in Europe while railing against fellow NATO members on defense spending and failing to coordinate on new sanctions on Moscow in 2017. "Very Unfair!" he said in a second message.

Trump also took aim at what he indicated were trade inequities with the EU on Monday in an indication he will attempt to link the USA commitment to European security with trade.

European officials have expressed hopes that member states can paper over their differences, but European Union President Donald Tusk delivered a blunt message to the U.S. leader on Tuesday. United States doesn't have and won't have a better ally than EU. "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!"

"I have the United Kingdom, which is in somewhat turmoil", said Trump, referring to shaken Brexit negotiations and the recent departure of several officials due to Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of Brexit negotiations.

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump said.

A day before the 11-12 July NATO summit, European Union and NATO signed a new declaration on transatlantic security, the second of its kind after the Warsaw Declaration of July 2016.

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The countries President Trump has publicly criticized and tweeted about have not increased their defense spending percentages.

When asked if Putin was a friend or foe, Trump replied, "I really can't say right now - as far as I'm concerned, a competitor".

How much do countries spend on defence then? Separately, doubts about Trump's commitment to European security have pushed EU leaders to boost defense cooperation.

Before he left Andrews Air Force Base, President Trump reiterated his demand for the USA to pay less and other members of the Western military alliance to pay more, and he linked the issue to the EU's trade surplus with the US. He is also expected to push for better balance of trade with Europe.

EU President Donald Tusk sent the president a tweet, defending NATO's member states. It was "immature" to link the two topics, Ursula von der Leyen said. Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a weekly podcast on Saturday, said Germany would increase defense spending in its 2019 budget, suggesting Trump's jawboning is paying off.

Trump has repeatedly criticized North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states for allegedly not pulling their financial weight, and has been reaching out to Russian President Vladimir Putin even as his ties with some of his western allies have become strained. Gardner responded by flatly denying Trump actually meant what he said. "It's not as much as 2 percent yet, but I think they will recommit more to do more because they realize that Europe does need to do more and they are the strongest of the economies in Europe", Hutchison added.

Appreciate your allies, EU’s Tusk tells Trump