Merkel calls her policies 'independent', dismisses Trump's criticism

Pauline Gross
July 14, 2018

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to media prior to a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. "We're having a great meeting".

"I think that getting along with Russian Federation, getting along with China, getting along with others is a good thing, not a bad thing", Trump added before leaving for Europe.

Debunking Trump's claim ahead of Wednesday's meeting that the U.S.is "paying for 90 percent of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", D'Angelo Gore of FactCheck.org noted, "In reality, the USA share of the commonly funded North Atlantic Treaty Organisation budget is now just over 22 percent, according to the most recent figures from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

"I think that two world wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", he said.

The statement was notable in its wording mainly because of the acrimony that preceded the Brussels meeting when U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at alliance members, accusing them of not paying their fair share. "For many years I dreamed of freedom, just as many others did - also of the freedom to travel to the United States", she said then. The White House has accused European allies of "freeriding" on Washington's defense capabilities, as only five of the alliance's members actually meet the 2 percent target.

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Canada only contributed 1.29% of its GDP, while Germany - which has drawn criticism from President Trump - spent 1.24% of its GDP on defense a year ago.

Trump, who has long criticised Berlin for not spending enough on NATO's mutual defence and for alleged unfair trade practices noted Germany's "tremendous success". "We can't put up with it", he said. "So, we are supposed to protect you against Russian Federation". So I think that's inappropriate also. "We're protecting everybody. this has been going on for decades", Trump said. Germany is a rich country. "They are getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia", Trump said.

Striking a strident tone at the summit, Trump's aspirational target of 4% of gross domestic product was above the United States own spending on defence.

While Chancellor Angela Merkel and much of her conservative bloc are sympathetic to the goal of raising military spending, her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners are more divided.

Other reports by GizPress

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