European Council President Donald Tusk Has A Stern Warning For Trump

Trump heads to Europe amid frayed alliances and worries about his tilt to Putin

The US president set the tone for his attendance at the two-day alliance summit starting on Wednesday in Brussels with a typically combative tweet reminding the Europeans that the US spent "many times more" on their defence than any other alliance member.

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for particular criticism.

He asked Stoltenberg to explain why Berlin was getting energy from Moscow, and asserted that Germany was "totally controlled" by and "captive to Russia" over a pipeline project.

Russia's behavior is another important topic and one that will be most uncomfortable for Trump.

Mr Trump appeared to be referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would bring gas from Russian Federation to Germany's north-eastern Baltic coast, bypassing Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine and doubling the amount of gas Russian Federation can send directly to Germany.

Trump has, meanwhile, delivered on US commitments to Europe.

"Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II pipeline.

As he left the White House to travel to Europe on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump had more harsh words for the multi-country military alliance that was has been a punching bag throughout his campaign and into his presidency.

"If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russian Federation".

"President Trump has a very direct language and message on defence spending, but fundamentally we all agree that we need fair burden sharing", Stoltenberg said on his arrival at the summit.

'Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer, ' he wrote, 'Nato countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS.

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"They will spend more", he later predicted. "I have great confidence they'll be spending more". "By some accounts, the U.S.is paying for 90% of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment".

That's not how the spending works.

Germany, a particular focus of scolding by Trump and the region's No. 3 defense spender behind the United Kingdom and France, is projected to remain unchanged this year at 1.24 percent of GDP. He also called Brussels a "hell hole" and "a mess".

"Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending", Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday.

Last month, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said that while United States politicians are accusing Europe of being dependent on Russian gas, Washington was force-feeding Europe its liquefied natural gas, which is three times more expensive than natural gas from Russia.

The NATO summit is also being attended by leaders of so-called NATO partner states that are not members of the alliance.

"I think two World Wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart", Stoltenberg told Trump.

"So I think the secretary-general likes Trump".

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One ahead of the NATO Summit, at Brussels Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium.

Mr Trump predicted as he departed Washington that the "easiest" leg of his journey would be his scheduled sit-down with Mr Putin.

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