TRUMP’S TOUGH NATO, EU TALKS
The United States president is set to press allies to do more on terrorism
DONALD Trump met NATO and EU leaders for the first time yesterday, with the United States president set to press nervous allies to do more on terrorism after the Manchester bombing.
Trump faced protests on his arrival in Brussels, but he received a red-carpet welcome from Western allies eager to persuade him that his earlier criticisms of them were misplaced.
NATO, which Trump on the campaign trail dismissed as “obsolete” for focusing on Russia instead of terrorism, is set to bow to his demands that it join the US-led coalition against the Islamic State.
“This will send a strong political message of NATO’s commitment to the fight against terrorism,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference ahead of the summit.
Trump’s entourage, however, warned that the billionaire president would once again press the 28-nation alliance to pay their full share of the alliance’s financial burden.
“I think you can expect the president to be very tough on them,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.
Brussels could be the toughest leg yet of the first foreign trip for Trump, who came directly from a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
On his arrival on Wednesday in Brussels, the city he once said had been turned into a “hellhole” by Muslim immigration, the president was greeted by thousands of protesters saying “Trump not welcome”.
Further protests were expected yesterday and security was tight across the city with helicopters flying overhead and key roads shut down.
The EU, credited like NATO with keeping the peace in Europe since World War II, will also be hoping to convince Trump that it remains relevant.
EU President Donald Tusk, who will meet Trump along with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, tweeted that “I’ll aim to convince POTUS that Euro-Atlanticism means the free world co-operating to prevent (a) post-West world order”.
Trump alarmed the EU by backing further countries to follow Britain’s lead in quitting the bloc, and by calling it a vehicle for German dominance of the continent.
Tusk and Juncker will tell the US president that since last year’s shock Brexit vote, the EU is “in a completely different place” after populist candidates lost in France and the Netherlands, a senior EU official says.
Trump showed his determined stance on terrorism as he met Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel shortly after his arrival on Wednesday night, saying that the most important issue was terrorism after the “horrible situation” in Manchester.
“When you see something like what happened a few days ago you realise how important it is to win this fight. And we will win this fight,” said Trump. AFP
People carrying effigies of US President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during a demonstration against the US president in Brussels on Wednesday.