The European Union has called on US President Donald Trump to appreciate the alliance between Europe and America, saying the president had better distinguish friends from foes.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Tuesday while speaking in a ceremony for a new EU-NATO cooperation agreement that Trump should use his trip later in the day to Brussels to attend a NATO summit to better understand the transatlantic alliance.
“Please remember this tomorrow when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet President (Vladimir) Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem,” said Tusk, also making a reference to Trump’s planned meeting with the Russian president in the Finnish capital on July 16.
The remarks come against the backdrop of increasing tensions between the EU and the US over issues like trade policy and military spending. Trump has angered the Europeans by imposing tariffs on certain imports from EU countries, a move Europeans have retaliated. Trump has also criticized Europeans for their failure to meet targets for spending on NATO.
“Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting – NATO. The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
Tusk responded to Trump’s criticism by saying that European troops had fought and lost their lives alongside the US in various military adventures, including in years of NATO deployment in Afghanistan. He also said that EU’s overall military spending outpaced that of Russia and was as much as China’s.
The EU chief issued an implicit warning to Trump that the US may become isolated if it does not appreciate EU allies.
“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” said Tusk, adding, “The US doesn’t have and won’t have a better ally than the EU.”