Trump warns European Union to 'shape up' over trade and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Cheryl Sanders
December 3, 2019

Tuesday's NATO London conference marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the world's largest security alliance started with a joint press conference between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.

The increased spending came after years of threats and criticisms against European NATO members from Trump, which analysts say handed Trump a symbolic victory but weakened USA leadership and the bloc's unity in the long run.

Last week, President Trump had said the USA was in the "final throes" of a deal aimed at defusing the trade war with China, however, the U.S. president added that failure to get the trade deal will prompt more tariffs even as analysts fear it would result in lower sales in the Christmas season ahead. The remarks were "very dangerous" and Trump said he could even envision France "breaking off".

The run-up to the meeting has been overshadowed by accelerating moves towards European Union member states establishing their own defence union, and key mover of that drive Emmanuel Macron accusing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of suffering from "brain death".

"The president will also emphasise the need for the NATO Alliance to ensure its readiness for the threats of tomorrow, including those emanating from cyberspace, those affecting our critical infrastructure and telecommunications networks, and those posed by terrorism". 'Frankly the one that benefits really the least is the United States'.

Over the years the organisation has expanded to its current membership of 29. The agenda features discussions about Russia, China and the future of arms control.

Infighting is a major issue.

As if that's not enough to keep Trudeau on high alert during any informal one-on-one chats with Trump, the United States has also renewed its push to get Canada to boost military spending. He is also unhappy with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, over a tax on American tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

"For Latvia, I can say that the transatlantic link - that is, Europe and Canada and the USA - are the cornerstones of our defense policy and our foreign policy", he said.

In turn, Erdoğan has lashed out at Macron.

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The full-throttled attack came on Tuesday, hours before the two leaders were scheduled to meet face-to-face in London. "I don't think it's up to if they want to make it, it's if I want to make it". Trump cited Germany as falling short, spending only 1% to 1.3%.

It remains to be seen whether the leaders will be able to show unity during the talks.

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