Tusk tells Trump: Appreciate your allies, you don’t have that many

Donald Tusk, Jens Stoltenberg, Jean-Claude Juncker, on 10 July 2018 in Brussels. [Commission]

“Europe is your best ally, please remember that,” Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday (10 July) in an indirect message to US president Donald Trump, who will attend a crucial NATO summit in Brussels this week and then meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A day before the 11-12 July NATO summit, EU and NATO signed a new declaration on transatlantic security, the second of its kind after the Warsaw Declaration of July 2016.

After the signing, in the presence of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Tusk said:

“I would like to directly address President Trump, who has for a long time now been criticising Europe almost daily, for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US.

“Dear President Trump, America does not have, and will not have, a better ally than Europe. Today Europeans spend on defence many times more than Russia and as much as China. And I think you can have no doubt, Mr President, that this is an investment in common American and European defence and security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending.

“I therefore have two remarks here. First of all, dear America, appreciate your allies, after all, you don’t have that many. And dear Europe, spend more on your defence, because everyone respects an ally that is well prepared and equipped.”

Tusk also dismissed the US president’s accusation that “the US alone protects Europe against its enemies and the US is almost alone in this struggle”.

He added that European soldiers had fought alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan, commenting that “870 brave European men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland, Poland”.

“Mr President, please remember this tomorrow, when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing who is your strategic partner, and who is your strategic problem”.

 

For his part, Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker remarked that “NATO and the European Union are the most natural of partners,” adding that the EU executive had proposed a dramatic increase in defence spending in its draft 2021-2027 budget.

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