Despite spat on Europe-U.S. defense cooperation, Macron says talks with Trump "fruitful"
11 Nov 2018, 01:35 ( 9 Months ago)
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed Saturday his three-hour talk with visiting U.S. President Donald Trump as "fruitful", despite their brief spat on Europe-U.S. defense cooperation.
"We have decided, President Trump and I, to work together for the stability of the Middle East, which will have a positive impact on the price of oil," he said on his twitter account, noting that their close-door conversation focused on issues of counter-terrorism, European defense, Iran, Syria, the Gulf region and Libya, among others.
Earlier Saturday, Macron received Trump at the Elysee Palace. In his opening remarks, Macron told reporters that he "do share Trump's view that we need a better budgetary within NATO ... because it means more Europe and more capacity within NATO, in order to keep ourselves secure."
Responding to a spat between him and Trump over his proposal for a "real European army", Macron insisted that his proposal "is truly consistent with" Trump's demand for European NATO members to raise their defense budget.
Hours ago, upon his arrival in Paris, Trump slammed Macron's suggestion of "a real European army" as "very insulting".
"Perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!" he tweeted.
Trying to defuse the episode, Macron recalled "the tremendous solidarity" linking the "oldest allies" in his opening remarks.
For Trump, security cooperation between his country and Europe should be more fairness-oriented. He told reporters in the Elysee Palace that the United States wants a secure Europe and wants to help, "but it should be fair."
The United States can only do so much in fairness of itself, said Trump, adding that "different countries have to also help."
Trump had been frequently criticizing European nations for failing to meet the official annual defense spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product set by NATO.
According to NATO figures, only five of 29 allies, namely Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Britain and the U.S., met their defense spending targets this year.
In July this year, Macron said that a NATO summit statement had confirmed the goal of 2 percent by 2024.