Trump: Nato states to increase defence funding

Donald Trump at the Nato press conference, 12 July

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AFP/ Getty Images

US President Donald Trump says Nato countries have agreed to increase their military spending.

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets.

No other country has confirmed any increased commitments as yet.

Mr Trump has been highly critical of Nato, complaining the US pays more than others – although he told reporters he had no plans to leave currently.

After the meeting, he said he believed in Nato and it was “presently unnecessary” to consider quitting it.

In 2014, all Nato members agreed to increase their defence spending to 2% of their GDP by 2024.

Mr Trump wants this to happen sooner, and has previously urged Nato allies to commit at least 4% of GDP.

“We made a tremendous amount of progress today,” he said. “It has been really amazing to see the level of spirit in that room.”

He said Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg had given “total credit” to him for the increased spending, which he said he instigated during his first Nato meeting last year.

Mr Stoltenberg has yet to comment.

After the summit, President Emmanuel Macron denied any increases had been made to the existing goal, according to the Associated Press.

He referred to a joint communiqué that was published the day before. “It confirms the goal of 2% by 2024. That’s all,” he said.

He said France would commit to this figure and deadline, but he was unconvinced by proposals to increase it to 4%.

Mr Trump’s early-morning tweets from Brussels had been typically critical.

President Macron said the meetings had a different tone to the tweets and were more respectful, according to Reuters.

In a separate briefing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was a clear commitment to Nato from all attendees.

The US leader has specifically singled out Germany for criticism over its defence spending.

He has also accused the country of being held prisoner to imported Russian energy, saying it is “totally controlled” by Moscow.

President Trump’s next stop after Belgium is the UK, where he will arrive early in the afternoon to begin a two-day working visit, which is expected to spark public protests.

Trump: Nato states to increase defence funding

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