Pipeline dollars to Russia not acceptable: Trump tells US' European allies

Fournier received the award from Foreign Minister Péter Szijjárt

He later called on the alliance's members to increase their gross domestic product (GDP) spending on defense from a commitment of 2 percent to 4 percent, though the US spent only 3.6 percent of its GDP on defense a year ago.

"Because of me they've [NATO] raised about $40 billion over the a year ago", the USA leader told journalists standing next to NATO Secretary General.

He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".

'Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025'.

As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when US taxpayers, funding a defense budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

The spike in tensions comes as President Trump is preparing for his first-ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, in less than a week, sparking worry among allies.

"These two people are very different, very interestingly different".


Other leaders have also been trickling in, and continue to arrive after Trump.

Trump's criticism involved countries he said are not spending enough on their own defenses in exchange for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation protection.

Mrs Merkel told reporters: "I am very happy that today we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany".

Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defense alliance, before the mood appeared to have calmed as the summit went into its second day, focusing on operations beyond Europe.

"The United States is spending far too much and other countries are not paying enough, especially some". House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill that "NATO is indispensable".

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the organisation.

Mr Trump, who landed in Belgium during the middle of the football-mad nation's World Cup semi-final match, will later head to London, where Prime Minister Theresa May's government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union. "It's disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States", Trump said, adding that he is eager to change the situation.

Mr Trump made more conciliatory remarks on Wednesday after he and Mrs Merkel met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit, saying defence spending and trade had been discussed.

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