Trump used the whip on NATO summit, as expected says Prime Minister Solberg
US President Donald Trump went to the frontal assault when he met the Prime Ministers of NATO. European countries owe large sums, he says.
The NATO summit in Brussels was the place where uncertainty was to be removed and the relationship between the United States and Europe again normalized after Trump entered the White House. But the president was true to himself.
When he met France’s new president Emmanuel Macron, the handshake was so firm that their knuckles whitened.At the summit, he was filmed while he bullied his way to the front between the Heads of State and Government. When he held his speech, he delivered a bill of billions to his allies.
Trump said he had been “very, very directly” with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and with member states in the alliance that everyone must take their fair part of the bill.
Only five of NATO’s 28 member countries have reached the Alliance’s goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, Trump pointed out.
– This is not fair to the people and taxpayers in the United States. Many countries owe massive sums of money, he said.
According to Trump, 2 percent should be a minimum. Had everyone spent 2 percent in 2016, it would have given the alliance 119 billion dollars more.
“We must admit that with this chronic underfunding and growing threats, even 2 percent of GDP is too little,” said Trump.
Not surprisingly, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Convervatives).
At the NATO Summit, Trump was crystal clear that European Allies must take a larger part of the bill in defense cooperation.
Solberg describes it as familiar tunes.
– I experience this as a clear message from a man who likes to send clear messages, she says to the Norwegian press after the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday evening.
– He is a businessman who has become a politician and is keen to deliver results
According to Solberg, it is a legitimate requirement by the United States that European countries must increase defense budgets. She thinks it’s just fair that Europe takes a bigger part of the bill.
– The United States has dragged much of the load both in the defense of Europe and in many international operations. I think we must contribute more, says Solberg to NTB.
She also believes that NATO has made significant progress with decisions taken at Thursday’s summit. There the leaders stood behind a new regime with annual reporting on the use of money.
In addition, NATO now enters as an official member of the coalition against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, while taking a number of other steps to strengthen NATO’s contribution to the fight against terrorism.
Before the summit there was also hope that Trump would use the opportunity to make a direct confirmation that the United States is in line with Article 5 of the NATO Charter. It states that an attack on one should be considered as an attack on all.
But Trump did not come up with the statement everyone was waiting for. Stoltenberg nevertheless insists that it does not matter so much. He believes Trump has clearly expressed support for NATO, despite the turmoil some of his statements have created.
– And the NATO Treaty is very short and straightforward. It has one main clause, Article 5, which is about collective defense. Are you for NATO, then you are by definition for Article 5, says Stoltenberg to NTB.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today