Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage backed President Donald J Trump’s tough stance on European countries “freeloading” in NATO, and warned the EU’s ambitions to form a unified military is the real threat to the alliance’s future.
The former UKIP chief — one of the first foreign politicians to meet with Trump after he won the presidential election, and recommended for British ambassador to the U.S. by him — said he was “not in the least bit surprised” to see President Trump taking on the other NATO leaders for failing to meet their spending commitments.
“There are 29 members of NATO and only five of them are paying the basic 2 percent,” Farage told Sky’s Adam Boulton.
“I mean, Germany is only paying 1.2 percent — and with any club to work with mutual respect for each other people must play by the rules,” he said.
“Mrs May should be telling the rest of Europe, ‘You really need to take the President seriously because what he’s saying is right’, [but] she’s not doing it… I’m afraid the Atlantic’s got wider, not narrower, and that’s because Mrs May always goes down the politically correct route” of attacking President Trump.
'Theresa May should step up and become a global leader… the meeting with Trump will be tense' says former UKIP leader Nigel Farage pic.twitter.com/0nsxNOSnDw
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 12, 2018
Farage contrasted the Prime Minister’s anti-American stance with that of President Trump himself, who has made consistent efforts to support the United Kingdom through the Brexit process — unlike leftist predecessor Barack Obama, who the Tories constantly fawned over.
“He’s reached out to her right from the start of his presidency; he’s done his absolute best to reach out,” the MEP noted.
“Mrs May [has used] every opportunity to condemn the U.S. President for what he does. We are where we are, but [Theresa May] could, I think, at NATO, have stepped up and become a global leader — but she’s not.”
Asked whether he believes the visit will be a success, Farage was cautious.
“Whether you like Trump or not he clearly is a very important global leader, he is half-British — a point that people perhaps tend to forget.
“He likes this country, he wants us to be at the front of the queue in every way, but I’m afraid the meeting between the two is going to be very tense, he will have looked at this Chequers deal [on Brexit] and been pretty appalled by it,” he said.
Indeed, while President Trump had been keen for Britain to take advantage of its restored power to sign its own trade agreements to strike a “very big, very powerful” deal with the U.S. after Brexit, the multitude of concessions to the EU the Prime Minister has made in her Chequers proposals will make this all but impossible.
"It is not Trump who's threatening the future of NATO, it is the European Commission" – Nigel Farage on Trump's relationship with NATO pic.twitter.com/LbFNqQ3mNC
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 12, 2018
Farage also warned that the EU’s ambitions to establish a unified military to rival U.S.-led NATO was the real threat to the alliance’s future, and that the bloc’s leadership was much more keen to see it fail than President Trump, in hopes this would see more national governments turning to Brussels rather than Washington D.C.
“The real problem is Mr [Jean-Claude] Juncker will be cheering this,” he said, in reference to the ambitious and abrasive President of the European Commission.
“Because what’s going on is they’ve been building a European army, they want it completed by 2025, and Mr Juncker has told the nations of Europe they only need to pay 1 percent to defence, not 2 [percent],” he explained.
“I do not believe the electorates of Europe will want [German remilitarisation] one little bit, [but] the important message for European citizens right now is it’s not Trump that’s threatening the future of NATO, it is the European Commission,” he added.