Are Trump and the Queen friends
Trump's friends and competitors
Donald Trump sets off for Europe. He has three appointments on the old continent: the US president is first flying to the NATO summit in Brussels, on Friday he will continue on a state visit to Great Britain and next Monday in Helsinki a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is on Trump's agenda.
His allies are unlikely to be particularly pleased with how the US President assesses the stages of his trip: "There is NATO, Great Britain," the US President listed his appointments before leaving for Europe, "and there is Putin". Trump's forecast for the three meetings: "To be honest, Putin could be the easiest - who would have thought?"
Presidential couple Trump on their way to Brussels: "Very unfair!"
In his statement to the US capital city press, he added that he could not yet say whether Putin was a friend or an enemy and called the Russian president a "competitor".
NATO nagging like a prayer wheel
Trump's stance on the NATO ally, however, does not seem to have changed. Since taking office, he has been criticizing the other members of the defense alliance, and in particular Germany, for what he believes are far too low spending on armaments. Even now, Trump picked up his cell phone again and tweeted: "NATO countries have to pay MORE, the United States less. Very unfair!"
In Europe, many of the US president's mantra-like NATO nagging seems to get on their nerves. Trump should know who is a friend and who is a problem, said EU Council President Donald Tusk. In clear words, he urged the US President not only to talk about defense spending at the Brussels summit. "Today Europeans spend many times what Russia spends on defense and just as much as China," said Tusk on the sidelines of the signing of a new NATO-EU declaration in Brussels. He hoped Trump would not doubt that this was an investment in common security.
EU Council President Tusk: "Dear America, appreciate your allies"
At the summit, but above all at his meeting with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin planned for next week, the US president should remember how the European partners stood on the side of the US after the Islamist terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. 870 European men and women alone would have lost their lives in the subsequent Afghanistan mission. "Dear America, appreciate your allies - after all, you don't have that many," said Tusk.
Headwind in the UK
Trump must also expect headwinds during his visit to Great Britain on Friday - at least on the street. Large protest marches take place in London. A balloon in the shape of a giant Trump baby in diapers will then float over the square in front of Parliament. But maybe the US president won't notice that much. The official meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II will take place outside of London.
The meeting of Trump and Putin next Monday will be the first official summit of the two since Trump took office a year and a half ago. The US president took office with the announcement that he wanted to improve US relations with Russia.
However, because of the conflict in Ukraine, the war in Syria and the poison attack on ex-Russian agent Sergej Skripal in Great Britain, relations between the Western allies and Russia are extremely tense. Investigators in the US also suspect Russia of interfering in the 2016 US presidential campaign - in favor of Trump.
AR / sti (afp, dpa, rtr)
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