U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during their bilateral breakfast, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. "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". "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025".
In 2014, before Trump was president, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members agreed to stop cutting their military budgets and set a goal of moving "toward" spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own defense by 2024.
Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general, pictured here among alliance leaders, struck a diplomatic note about Mr Trump's outspoken calls for other countries to live up to their goal of spending 2 per cent of their economic output on defence. That is more than current USA spending as a proportion of GDP - and Pentagon budgets maintain bases and deploy fleets around the world, something that shouldn't be expected from Estonia or Spain.
Before he departed for the alliance summit in Belgium that starts a week-long trip that also features meetings with United Kingdom leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said the latter would likely be the "easiest".
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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.
Trump's words about the upcoming Putin meeting contrasted sharply with the way in which he assailed Germany as he arrived in Brussels. The United States pays about 67 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, more than any other nation, although only 3.5 percent is NATO-related. There isn't a penalty for not meeting it, but Trump has repeatedly castigated Germany in particular for not spending enough, in his view, on defense.
Merkel said it was very important to have such exchanges like the meeting she and Trump were having because "after all, we are partners". Ms. Merkel has been considerably tougher on Russian President Vladimir Putin than Mr. Trump has; unlike the USA president, she has never suggested acceptance of Russia's forcible annexation of Crimea. She insisted that Germany today makes its decisions independently of Moscow, adding "That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany". "Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"
"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News.