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EU council chief's riposte to Trump: Respect the allies you have
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EU council chief's riposte to Trump: Respect the allies you have

BRUSSELS, July 11 ------ European Council President Donald Tusk told US President Donald Trump on Tuesday to stop berating NATO allies over military investment levels ahead of what is expected to be a fraught alliance summit. Before taking off for Brussels, Trump again chided fellow NATO members for not contributing enough to the alliance while maintaining a trade surplus with the United States, his latest reprimand on issues that are straining transatlantic relations. "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many," Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said after a signing statement on more cooperation between the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

As European Council president, Tusk serves as the chairman when EU leaders meet at summits. NATO released new estimates for allied defense spending in 2018 on Tuesday, showing that Latvia and Lithuania are set to meet the target of spending 2 percent of economic output on the military. Of the 29 allies, only the United States, Britain, Estonia, Greece and Poland met the goal in 2017. Romania is also on course to hit it in 2018, NATO said. Many US presidents have urged European governments to spend more on their militaries. But Trump has intensified the demands to such an extent that allies worry it could damage NATO morale and play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who they accuse of trying to destabilize the West.

"Dear President Trump: America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe," said Tusk. "Today, Europeans (collectively) spend on defense many times more than Russia, and as much as China." He said that money helped boost US security, as the United States regards Russia and China as threats. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that all allies were increasing defense spending in real terms because economies in Europe were growing. He also said Washington strengthens its security and global reach through NATO. "NATO is the force multiplier for the United States," Stoltenberg told reporters.

Source: gmanetwork.com