Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Trump rips Macron for proposing new European Union army to defend against US

French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Renault Maubeuge Construction Automobile factory in Maubeuge France Emmanuel Macron unveils European defence coalition
Faye Gross | 10 November, 2018, 08:43

The two leaders are expected to discuss European concerns about Trump's plans to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and renewal of United States sanctions against Iran.

The US President Donald Trump has criticised a suggestion by President Macron of France for a joint European army as "very insulting".

Trump, who has pursued "America First" policies since taking over the presidency in January 2017, declared himself a "nationalist" during the run-up to the congressional elections, a term likely to raise concerns in Europe.

He's expected to meet with leader Emmanuel Macron Saturday, to discuss a range of issues including trade.

"Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the US subsidizes greatly!" tweeted Trump, who is scheduled to meet Macron for bilateral talks on Saturday.

This week Macron called for a "real European army" to protect against China, Russia, and the United States.

Trump is scheduled to visit two American cemeteries over the course of the weekend, which will culminate with a solemn ceremony Sunday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to France's war dead.

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"I don't think that this defense identity will start with an European Union army", Schinas said on Tuesday. Trump and Macron had presented their relationship as a good friendship in the earlier days of Macron's ascension as president of France.

During the Europe 1 interview, he said, "We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army". Europe, he said in Tuesday's Europe 1 radio interview, must reduce its dependence on USA after Trump announced he was pulling out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.

According to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation figures, only five of 29 allies met their defense spending targets this year - Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Britain and the U.S.

"At some point in time, probably down at the end of this process, we may see something that people already describe as an EU army or an EU pooling of resources to make this EU defense identity more visible and more meaningful", Schinas said. "And we look forward to that", Mr Trump told reporters before leaving the White House.

"It should be a very attractive period of time, the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I. We have many countries - the leadership from many countries will be there, especially since they heard the United States will be there".

Trump and Macron also have extensive differences over trade and US sanctions on Iran. Trump and Putin are expected to have formal talks later this month when both attend a G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.

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