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5/25/17

EU-Belgium-NATO: Trump meets with EU officials and scolds world leaders at NATO ceremony in Brussels

"Manneken Pis," Bruxelles most famous fountain
President Trump criticized leaders at a dedication ceremony at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25, saying they need to increase financial contributions to combat "the threat of terrorism."

"America instead of haggling over money", say most European politicians," must not forget that Europe is on the front-line of the American defense in case of an attack from the Russians. That should be worth every cent the US invests into Europe's defense."

In his speech to NATO leaders, President Trump also said  NATO must focus on terrorism and that “nations owe massive amounts of money” on defense.

Thursday’s NATO meeting was scheduled to allow Trump and leaders of NATO states to take the measure of each other. The 27 other members had hoped to relieve anxiety that arose during Trump’s campaign, when he questioned why the United States was spending its own money to defend Europe, called NATO “obsolete” and ill-equipped to deal with terrorism, and threatened to withdraw if other members failed to pay their “fair share.”

Moreover, though the White House had sent recent signals that the United States would stay in NATO’s mutual defense pact, known as Article 5, Trump made no mention of it as he stood next a monument dedicated to the only time the article had been previously invoked: during the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

Donald Trump did vow, however, to crack down on leaks that prompted Manchester police to withhold information from the United States about the investigation into this week’s bombing.

Earlier during the day Mr. Trump met with EU President Tusk and other EU officials. 

After the meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels ended, Tusk, who presides over the European Council said:  "I am not 100% sure that we can say today ... that we have a common position, common opinion, about Russia," but Tusk added that both parties remain critical of Russia's military incursions into neighboring Ukraine.

Tusk also said "some issues remain open" with Trump, including climate change and trade policy.

EU members have long questioned Trump's warm comments toward Putin, who has backed many anti-EU candidates in elections throughout the continent. And countries such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have expressed concerns about similar Russian hacking and disinformation campaigns to undermine elections in their countries.

Trump's meeting with Tusk, who presides over the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, preceded talks with leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Trump Brussels stop came in the middle of Trump's first foreign trip as president, one that began with visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Rome. Trump is spending nine days away from Washington, which is still reeling from a spate of recent revelations related to Trump's links to Russia.

Trump's first foreign trip as president came a week after the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to look into possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russians who sought to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

The U.S. intelligence community has accused Moscow of orchestrating a high-level campaign of cyberattacks, propaganda and fake news to try and influence the 2016 election, though the president and his aides have denied any collusion.


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