Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron Meet After French leader’s call for EU Army
The French president, Emmanuel Macron said it was “unfair” to have European security protected “just by the US”, but the EU needed its own army as he met with Donald Trump Sky news reports.
The US president tweeted on Friday to say the suggestion was “very insulting” and the continent should “pay its fair share to NATO”.
Trump had arrived in the French capital earlier that day for a weekend of events commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War
Tensions were strained as Mr Trump and Mr Macron sat down in front of cameras at the Elysee Palace Saturday morning.
The US president reiterated his complaint about Europe’s NATO contribution, and said: “Different countries have to also help and it’s only fair… and the president (Mr Macron) and I very much agree on that.”
While Mr Trump looked straight ahead, seemingly angry, Mr Macron responded: “I do agree… But it’s unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States… I do believe that we need more European capacities – more European defence – in order to take this part of the burden.”
A smiling Mr Macron finished by patting the US president on the knee.
The row has soured relations between the two world leaders, who were said to have enjoyed a “bromance” when Mr Macron visited Washington DC in April.
Mr Trump toasted what he called a “great relationship” after hosting the French president at the first state dinner of his administration.
The two leaders are holding wide-ranging talks in Paris expected to delve deeper into European security, Syria and Iran.
It comes as Mr Trump cancelled his visit to a US war cemetery due “to bad weather” as world leaders mark Armistice Day.
Mr Macron’s suggestion of a European army was pitched during an interview with radio station Europe 1 before a meeting of defence ministers from nine European countries to discuss how such a force would operate.
He told the station that Europe needed to be less reliant on the US, especially in light of Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty with Russia.
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the US,” Mr Macron said.
“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s Euro missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security. We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army. We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the US.”