TUSK SLAMS TRUMP’S STANCE ON EUROPE

Sunday Express - - WORLD -

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump set a com­bat­ive tone for a World War I com­mem­o­ra­tive visit to Paris on Satur­day when he blasted calls by French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron for a Euro­pean ar my to de­fend against threats from pow­ers in­clud­ing the US.

No sooner had Trump touched down in Paris for a week­end of events to mark the end of WWI — in­clud­ing a meet­ing with Macron — than he fired off a tweet casti­gat­ing his host over pro­pos­als to en­dow the EU with its own, joint army.

“Pres­i­dent Macron of France has just sug­gested that Europe build its own mil­i­tary in or­der to pro­tect it­self from the US, China and Rus­sia,” the US pres­i­dent tweeted late Fri­day, re­fer­ring to re­marks made by Macron three days ear­lier.

“Very in­sult­ing, but per­haps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US sub­si­dizes greatly!,” he added.

Trump, who is visit­ing France with his wife Me­la­nia for the sec­ond time since be­com­ing pres­i­dent, was re­fer­ring to a call made by Macron in an in­ter­view Tues­day for a “real Euro­pean army.”

Macron, an ar­dent ad­vo­cate of closer Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion, said a joint Euro­pean Union mil­i­tary force was needed to wean Europe off Amer­i­can might, not least after Trump an­nounced he was pulling out of a Cold War­era nu­clear treaty.

“We have to pro­tect our­selves with re­spect to China, Rus­sia and even the United States,” he told the Europe 1 broad­caster, sug­gest­ing for the first time that Europe might need to de­fend it- Euro­pean Union chief Don­ald Tusk on Satur­day ac­cused US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of be­ing averse to a “strong and united” Europe and also warned against the emer­gence of a “brown­shirt” na­tion­al­ist front in EU elec­tions next year. “For the first time in his­tory we have an Amer­i­can ad­min­stra­tion that is, to put it mildly, not en­thu­si­as­tic about a united and strong Europe,” Tusk said in a speech in his na­tive Poland. The EU Coun­cil pres­i­dent has pre­vi­ously voiced fears that Trump was seek­ing to tear down the post World War II or­der, with the US leader once call­ing the EU a foe in trade. self from Amer­ica.

The French pres­i­dent, who has en­acted ma­jor de­fence spend­ing hikes to bring France in line with NATO spend­ing tar­gets, is spear­head­ing the cre­ation of a nine-coun­try Euro­pean rapid re­ac­tion force, in­de­pen­dent from NATO.

The force, which would fall far short of an army in size and scope, would be able to rapidly mount a joint mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion, evac­u­ate civil­ians from a war zone or pro­vide aid after a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

Pro­pos­als for a full EU army with a joint com­mand — a pet project of Euro­pean fed­er­al­ists — re­main deeply sen­si­tive, how­ever, among EU mem­bers anx­ious to de­fend their sovereignty.

French of­fi­cials said Macron’s mooted EU “army” was merely a call for closer de­fence in­te­gra­tion.

The row over EU de­fence risks over­shad­ow­ing com­mem­o­ra­tions to be at­tended by 70 world lead­ers, in­clud­ing Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan.

AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump greets his French coun­ter­part in Paris|

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