A White House spokeswoman said his remarks came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defense and were not a formal proposal. According to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation report released yesterday, eight of the 29 member nations are expected to reach that goal by the end of 2018.
As a strong proponent of diplomacy, I believe a meeting between President Trump and President Putin could be a productive one.
"What we have here is an alliance of necessity, not necessarily a love relationship", said Gienow-Hecht, whose university was established with American support in West Berlin during the Cold War. "I am very happy that we are today united in freedom as the federal republic". According to NATO's most recent report detailing members' defense expenditures, only five countries now satisfy that threshold: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia. "I think that's very inappropriate". His charge that Germany is captive to Russia comes days before he is scheduled to sit down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a one-on-one that he has described as the "easiest" of his meetings this week.
"We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that's being paid to the country we're supposed to be protecting you against", Trump said, referring to European purchases of Russian natural gas. NATO acknowledges an "over-reliance" on the U.S. What NATO partners dispute is Trump's repeated suggestion that the U.S. gets little in return for its commitment to defend member countries if threatened. Just nine of the military alliance's 29 members are expected to reach or surpass that target this year. "They have to step it up immediately", Trump said.
Merkel pushed back, insisting that Germany makes its own decisions.
Trump's moodiness, along with his unpredictability and often-treacherous behavior towards his allies, makes clear that he views military security as a commodity that can be sold.
"But she also says that in the end we need to be engaging with Russian Federation and that's why she welcomes the president's decision to go there".
European - and Canadian - military budgets have increased over the last two years, something Trump prodded NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to give him credit for on Wednesday.
Another key takeaway from the first day was President Trump's criticism of Angela Merkel's Germany. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said last week that the goal of the summit is to project unity.
"We're protecting everybody, and yet we're paying a lot of money to protect", Trump said. "And it can't be explained, and you know that". "But Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump declared. Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story: "It is not only bad, it is catastrophic". "Ultimately, Germany will have nearly 70 percent of their country controlled by Russian Federation with natural gas", Trump continued.
As the European Commission announced a settlement with Gazprom on Monday (13 March), officials told EURACTIV.com it was "highly likely" that the executive will approve the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
President Trump is already making waves, just hours after arriving in Europe.
President Trump is so prone to rhetorical excess that he sometimes hurts his own case even when he's right.