President Donald Trump has unleashed a fresh batch of criticism over Europe’s military spending as he started his seven-day tour through the ‘old continent’. His tour begins with a NATO summit and ends with a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed at improving US relations with the Kremlin. The seven-day visit seeks to address the two contentious points of the current US foreign policy – relations with Russia and the American perceptions of unfair treatment by European allies on trade and security.
“The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (US has a $151 Billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!” US President Trump tweeted yesterday (10 July) in a follow-up to his earlier tweet that read: “NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!” However, the EU disagrees with Mr. Trump’s assessment and his accusations, warning that Washington was undermining the trans-Atlantic alliance.
“Money is important, but genuine solidarity is even more important,” European Council President Donald Tusk said. “America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many.” Europeans say that Mr. Trump’s perceptions of the issues at hand are based on skewed data, complaining that the trade surplus of $151 billion that the EU has with the United States only includes goods, thus ignoring the US’ $51 billion surplus in services, most notably tech. All in all, Europeans are bracing for a difficult week amid intensifying tensions and divergence between both sides of the Atlantic.