US President Donald Trump has denounced North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for failing to pay for their own defense as they gathered in front of him in Brussels, and accused members of the alliance of owing "massive amounts of money".
"If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, the NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism", said Trump.
"These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct with secretary and members of the alliance in saying that nation members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations", said the president. Only five members now meet the target: Britain, Estonia, debt-laden Greece, Poland and the United States, which spends more than all the other allies combined.
After a serene visit to the Vatican and with Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump arrived Wednesday in Brussels as thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators took to the streets and the Belgian prime minister said he spoke with the president "without taboos".
Trump's remarks - paired with his conspicuous decision not to reiterate U.S. commitment to NATO's mutual defense provision, Article 5 - are likely to unsettle allies who had hoped to hear Trump assuage their concerns about his commitment to the historic alliance. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that "of course" the USA supports Article 5, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the ceremony in which Trump participated was dedicated to it. "He didn't. This is a major blow to the alliance", Daalder said on Twitter.
US President Donald Trump inaugurated the new headquarters during a ceremony on Thursday with other heads of state and government.
And Stoltenberg said later that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other US officials have stated clearly their assurances. Still, the quota is created to push countries to boost their own military, instead of funneling this extra revenue into NATO's coffers.
In a second blow, the president declined to commit the United States would stay in NATO's mutual defense pact.
Tusk and Juncker will tell the United States president that since last year's shock Brexit vote, the European Union is "in a completely different place" after populist candidates lost in France and the Netherlands, a senior European Union official said.
During a private dinner Thursday night, the 28 members, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, renewed an old pledge to move toward the 2 percent by 2024 - a move the White House touted as a sign of Trump's influence.
At a ceremony with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump will unveil a memorial to the September 11, 2001 attacks featuring part of the destroyed World Trade Center, while Merkel does the same for a fragment of the Berlin Wall. "This is my main reason, and I find Trump really disgusting", demonstrator Dorien Vanden Boer said.
In return, allies rattled by a resurgent Russian Federation will hope for a public display of commitment from Trump to Article 5, the alliance's one-for-all collective defence pledge.