The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, yesterday criticised US President Donald Trump for complaining “almost daily [about], in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities and for the [the EU] living off the US.” Tusk said that “Europe was first to respond on a larger scale when the US was attacked and called for solidarity” after the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, adding, “European soldiers have been fighting shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan.” While Tusk also called on European countries to spend more on defence, he said he was aiming “to dispel the American president’s argument which says that the US alone protects Europe against our enemies and that the US is almost alone in this struggle.”
Elsewhere, commenting on his upcoming meetings, Trump yesterday said, “I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all.”
This comes as representatives of the EU and NATO yesterday signed a new joint declaration on strengthened cooperation in the future, on issues including military mobility and counter-terrorism.
Meanwhile, the NATO summit begins today in Brussels, with the first session on “burden-sharing,” during which Prime Minister Theresa May will announce that the UK will commit more troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Speaking ahead of the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the “main topic to discuss” will be “how we can make further progress on burden-sharing in the alliance,” while Trump said, “Over the last year about 40 billion US dollars more has been given by other countries to help NATO, but that’s not nearly enough…This has been going on for decades, for decades, and it is disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States. And we are going to make it fair.”