NATO grapples over key policies in shadow of Trump spat

Mr Trump has been pressing member countries to spend more on defence, accusing them of passing the burden on to the US.

While it's true that only a handful of the 28 member countries now spend 2 percent or more of their GDP on defense, a 2014 agreement gave all of them a decade to get to the 2 percent level.

"They made tremendous success and I believe our trade will increase and lots of other things but we will see what happens over the next few months". Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the USA president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop past year". "NATO has not treated us fairly, but I think we'll work something out".

In 2014, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

The United States and Canada swung sharply on Sunday (10 June) toward a diplomatic and trade crisis as top White House advisers lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a day after US President Trump called him "very dishonest and weak".

With tensions in the Western alliance running high over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on USA taxpayers, the latest remarks fuelled concerns among allies over the US role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II. "We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said.

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European Union figures suggest Russian Federation is responsible for between 50% and 75% of Germany's gas imports, but gas makes up less than 20% of Germany's energy mix for power production.

Trump appeared to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply Berlin was funding a pipeline which German Chancellor Angela Merkel says is a commercial venture. "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate".

"We are having a great meeting, discussing military expenditure. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany".

Mr Trump is due to hold his first summit with Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, on 16 July.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and Germany had the right to make its own policy choices. Afterwards he will spend the weekend in Scotland at his gold club, Trump Turnberry, in Ayrshire.

Former secretary of state John Kerry blasted President Trump's criticism of Germany in a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning as "strange", "counterproductive", and "disgraceful".

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