Emmanuel Macron rubbishes Donald Trump's increased North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending claim

The mood was already prickly ahead of the summit, prompting a terse exhortation from the European Union's President Donald Tusk for Trump to "appreciate" his allies and reminding him that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

The French President said: There is a communique that was published yesterday. "He generally dislikes the Alliance and Allied solidarity, the very principle of an alliance and mulitlareral frameworks", she said.

He also pressed allies to hit the 2 percent goal "immediately".

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies shrugged off the demand as part and parcel of Trump's brash push for allies to spend more on their own defence at a summit in Brussels, with a quip from the alliance's chief that it should aim to meet its goal before reaching further.

So far, five countries - the US, UK, Estonia, Greece and Latvia have reached the target.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, spends just 1.24%, compared with 3.5% for the US.

"People are paying money than they've never paid before", Trump said, but failed to provide details on when allied countries would increase their commitment. But Trump's Thursday morning tweet, before meetings on Russian aggression and the war in Afghanistan, said allies "must" get to 4 percent. Wednesday's agreement, he said, "confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"

"The problem is Trump seems to really see no benefit that allies provide the United States", says James Goldgeier, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. I dont know if that's what they voted for.

Trump suggests he forced a great shift in the space of the past two days. But he did not extract any new commitments.

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop a year ago".

"So I would imagine that's what they will do, but maybe they will take a little bit of a different route".

"That's why we are pleased that based on the consultation we did with Canadians and our own defence policy review, we're moving forward with increasing by 70 per cent our defence investments over the coming decade". The rate of annual increase accelerated in 2017 and 2018, which Trump claims credit for.

The US leader has also singled out Germany for particular criticism over its defence spending.

At NATO, Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans.

Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defence, accusing Europe of freeloading off the US and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defence if they were ever attacked.

There is no empirical measure of this claim for increased strength.

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