Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron have both said Europe should pay more of its defence costs, a day after the US president attacked the idea of a European army proposed by the French president.
Mr Trump, in Paris ahead of events marking the end of World War One, said the US wanted “a strong Europe,” but the defence bill “has been largely on the United States.”
Mr Macron said he agreed that “we need a much better burden-sharing within Nato” – the US-led alliance.
“When President Trump has to protect one of the states of the United States he doesn’t ask France or Germany or another country to finance. That’s why I do believe that we need more investments,” he said.
Around 70 world leaders are gathering in Paris for events marking the Armistice that ended World War One, which was signed 100 years ago this Sunday.
I am in Paris getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One. Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
The Trump-Macron show of unity came despite earlier tensions, triggered when the French leader said the EU needed a joint army now that the US was pulling out of a key disarmament treaty with Russia.
“I want to build a real security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect, a European country – but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States.”
In the interview with French radio station Europe 1 on Tuesday, Mr Macron mentioned “re-emerging authoritarian powers” that were well-armed on Europe’s borders, “attempted attacks in cyberspace and interference in our democratic lives”, concluding: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”
Mr Trump responded angrily in a Friday night tweet, writing: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidizes greatly!”