BRUSSELS, Belgium - The U.S. President Donald Trump, whose recent trade tariffs have hit American allies the most, souring ties between long allied nations in the EU and the U.S., touched down in Brussels for the crucial NATO summit.
The U.S. President’s arrival was marked with an important piece of advice for him from the European Council President Donald Tusk.
Teaching Trump the important lesson of appreciating allies, Tusk wrote on Twitter, ”Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many."
With the U.S. President intensifying his attacks on members of the world's most powerful military alliance, NATO, singling out Germany - Tusk wrote on Twitter, accused Trump of criticizing Europe "almost daily,” and said the EU spent more than Russia on defence and as much as China.
He wrote on Twitter, “Dear @realDonaldTrump. U.S. doesn’t have and won’t have a better ally than EU. We spend on defense much more than Russia and as much as China. I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian & Chinese spending :-)”
Further, Tusk reminded the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September, 2001 attacks on the U.S.
Even before leaving for the NATO summit, Trump tweeted, “Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting - NATO. The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!”
Trump has repeatedly pointed out that a number of member states have not increased their defence budgets to the target of 2 percent of economic output.
Even though NATO countries have agreed to raise military spending by 2024, although Germany and Spain are unlikely to meet the target.
On Tuesday, NATO published its latest estimates on defense spending, which estimates that only five out of the 29 nations will meet the spending standards that were agreed upon at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales.
The report pointed out that currently, the U.S., Greece, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Latvia meet the 2 percent NATO guideline.
The report also showed that since the 2014 summit, the majority of allies have increased defense spending, inclduing Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey that lead the way.
Meanwhile, apart from the U.S. president increasing trade war fears, by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada, Mexico and other U.S. allies last month, American allies in the EU are also worried about his upcoming meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Speaking to reporters as he boarded Air Force One, Trump said, "So I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?"