EU rebukes Trump over attitude to allies

Donald and Melania Trump

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"President Trump has a different style to most other politicians. he's very direct and he communicates his messages in a very direct way".

"Not fair to the USA taxpayer", he continued, before again pointing to the US trade deficit with the European Union. "On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of US$151 Million with the USA, with big Trade Barriers on USA goods. NO!"

According to an internal European Union memo obtained by Bloomberg and using BEA figures, when including trade in goods, trade in services and primary income from investments, the USA has a 12 billion-euro surplus with the EU.

Trump touched down in Brussels aboard Air Force One hot on the heels of a stern warning from the EU's top official that America should "appreciate" its allies.

The president did not say whether not he trusted the Russian leader.

The summit scheduled for July 11-12 was expected to put the issue as one of the main topics for discussion.

On Nato, President Trump's main objection is that a number of member states have not increased their defence budgets to the target of 2 percent of economic output.

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The EU Council leader said pointedly that when Mr Trump did meet Mr Putin on 16 July "it is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem". So far, only five countries meet that threshold: the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Latvia.

Evidence also suggests that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 Presidential election, interference that has been confirmed by the us intelligence community and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump declined to go with either option, calling Putin a "competitor" instead. European Union officials also say most tariffs on USA goods are already low to zero.

The former Polish prime minister, who these days chairs summits of EU leaders and will take part in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting, recalled that Europe stood at Washington's side after the September 11 attacks, and that 870 European troops have fought and died in Afghanistan, including 40 from Poland.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Friday told Bloomberg TV that the summit should show unity, warning that "our opponents would be delighted if there is a division in Nato".

Last month, the president even wrote letters to a handful of European countries, urging them to up their defense commitments.

Sources told the newspaper Kommersantthat the Kremlin has submitted a two-page document to the White House with a first draft of a potential statement Moscow hopes Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will make at the conclusion of their Helsinki summit next week. "It's not as much as 2 percent yet, but I think they will recommit more to do more because they realize that Europe does need to do more and they are the strongest of the economies in Europe", Hutchison added.

-With assistance from Tony Capaccio, Richard Bravo and Nikos Chrysoloras.

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