U.S. President Donald Trump repeated questions Wednesday over payments from Germany to Russia for a gas pipeline and called for NATO allies to increase spending to two percent immediately, not by 2025.
Trump made headlines at a Wednesday morning breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Belgium, when he voiced concern over Germany’s payments to and dependence upon Russian gas.
“What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?” Trump wrote Wednesday from Brussels. He then turned attention again on the majority of NATO allies failing to meet the previously agreed upon two percent NATO spending threshold.
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
“Why are there only five out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?” asked Trump. “The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”
NATO leaders tried to explain their sub-level NATO spending ahead of this week’s summit.
Not only did President Trump call on the leaders during the summit to meet the two percent, but he further suggested that they double that spending to four percent.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders later confirmed:
During the President’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4%. The President raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year. President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.
During the morning breakfast meeting with Stoltenberg, the U.S. President pointed to a former German Chancellor’s involvement in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Europe and to Germany’s dependence on the Russian energy source in light of NATO allies’ spending to defend against Russia. He excoriated Germany for making a “massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you’re supposed to be guarding against Russia.”
Trump and Merkel discussed the natural gas pipeline to Russia in their pull-aside meeting later in the day.
Hungary on the other hand, pledged at the NATO summit to make necessary increases in their defense spending to the agreed upon two percent threshold.