Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Donald Trump claims Germany 'totally controlled' by Russian Federation, airs list of grievances

Donald Trump claims Germany 'totally controlled' by Russian Federation, airs list of grievances

Germany's energy relationship with Russian Federation has long frustrated Washington and Eastern Europe, who fear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that bypasses the Baltic nations and Poland could be used to cut them off from crucial energy supplies.

The alliance set a goal in 2014 for each country to reach the 2% of GDP spending target by 2024.

"Since Trump became president, US funding for military presence in Europe - the European Deterrence Initiative -has been increased by 40 percent".

The Trudeau government and the Trump administration have found common ground at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit - shared concern over a proposed Russian pipeline that would cross through the Baltic Sea into Germany.

Trump is due to meet Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

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.

But Trump's claim that the spending 4.2 percent of GDP is at odds with the Pentagon, which puts it at 3.3 percent.

"Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back", Trump said at a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "But no other president brought it up like I bring it's an unfair burden on the United States".

"I will focus on what we have agreed and we have agreed that we committed to the pledge increasing defense spending to 2 percent", he told reporters.

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Trump said: "We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries". On top of that Germany is just paying a little over 1%. "We're supposed to protect Germany but they're getting their energy from Russian Federation".

"Instead of worrying what other countries are spending on their militaries, the president should worry about the ways his own military wastes funds that could be used to solve problems at home". "You tell me if that's appropriate".

Trump said Germany's closure of coal and nuclear power plants on environmental grounds had increased its dependence, like much of the rest of Europe, on Russian gas.

"It's sad when Germany makes a massive gas deal with Russia where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia", he said.

"How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the country you want protection against?"

In response, Lindsay Koshgarian, program director for the National Priorities Project which tracks Pentagon spending and its social implications, said that European leaders-and the people they represent-should be very wary about Trump's demand to increase military expenditures.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the summit that Trump will have "pull-aside" meetings later in the day with Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

"I think these countries have to step it up, not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately".

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