EU president warns Donald Trump: 'Appreciate your allies, you don't have many after all'

Donald Tusk issues warning to US president ahead of Nato meeting

Jon Stone
Brussels
Tuesday 10 July 2018 17:33 BST
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EU president warns Donald Trump 'Appreciate your allies, you don't have many after all'

The president of the European Council has warned Donald Trump that he should appreciate his allies, following sustained criticism of Europe by the US president.

Speaking on the eve of a major Nato summit in Brussels, Donald Tusk warned Mr Trump that he was isolated on the world stage and suggested he should think twice before criticising the EU.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” Mr Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said after signing a statement on defence cooperation between the European Union and Nato.

He added that “for a long time now” Mr Trump has been criticising Europe almost daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US.

Addressing the president directly, he said: “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 can’t be said with confidence about Russian or Chinese spending.”

Mr Tusk, a representative for EU national leaders collectively on the world stage, has previously warned member states they should prepare for “worst-case scenarios” with Mr Trump leading the United States.

 Appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many

Donald Tusk, European Council president

The US president has imposed trade tariffs on the EU and previously threatened to withdraw US military protection from parts of Europe, arguing that European countries should fund more of their own defence. The EU has hit back with new tariffs of its own against US goods.

EU officials say Mr Tusk privately believes Mr Trump is “dangerous” and that his policy represents a new American doctrine without fixed friends or enemies.

‘Europeans spend on defence many times more than Russia, and as much as China,’ Tusk says
‘Europeans spend on defence many times more than Russia, and as much as China,’ Tusk says (PA)

Mr Trump is travelling to Brussels today for the Nato meeting, which is also being attended by leaders like Theresa May and Angela Merkel. Ahead of his visit, he tweeted:

“Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting – Nato. The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.

“Not fair to the US taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151bn on trade with the European Union. Charge us big tariffs (and barriers)!”

It is the first major international summit to feature Mr Trump since the G7 meeting in Canada where he withdrew his support for a joint statement and accused Justin Trudeau, his the Canadian prime minister, of being untrustworthy.

The US president is set to make a seven day tour through Europe. He is expected to confront allies about levels of military spending at the Nato meeting, and will come to the UK for the weekend at the invitation of Theresa May. Major protests are planned for the arrival of perhaps the most unpopular US president for Europeans in living memory.

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