Trump continues to criticise European allies ahead of NATO summit

Jens Stoltenberg

In a pointed apparent reference to Mr Trump's upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Tusk noted that European military spending "is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending". I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany.

He will also visit the United Kingdom at a time when the government of Prime Minister Theresa May faces another political crisis following the resignation of two of her principal ministers, both critics of her Brexit plan to negotiate a smooth withdrawal from the European Union. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he welcomed the summit between Trump and Putin.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have slumped into a new low over Russia's alleged meddling in the US 2016 elections, Syria and Ukraine issues and their diplomatic disputes among others.

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters ahead of the NATO summit that the "major overall themes of this summit [are] going to be NATO's strength and unity". Not fair to the USA taxpayer.

Diplomats are quoted as predicting that Trump will threaten to pull USA troops out of Ukraine, and ultimately out of Europe in general over the spending demands. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. "Who would think? Who would think?"

Trump has insisted that he will be "totally prepared" for the meeting with Putin, who on Tuesday he called "a competitor".

President Trump is already making waves, just hours after arriving in Europe. "After all, you don't have that many".

Given what we know about Trump and Putin's warm and fuzzy relationship, a lot of people would think.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Trump hit out at the European Union on trade and at his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies for failing to spend enough on defence.

Trump leaves Britain for the summit with Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

Merkel said she raised issues of migration and economic development with Trump.

To hit the two percent target, analysts say Berlin would need to more than double its defence expenditure between 2017 and 2024 - a problematic undertaking in any country, let alone one with Germany's post-war history of unease about military strength.

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