NATO Summit 2018 will be held next week in Brussels, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, sent out a letter ahead of the gathering to the leaders of countries in the EU, writing that “trans-Atlantic relations are under immense pressure due to the policies of President Trump.” He also wrote that, because of this, they need to prepare for a “worst case scenario,” according to the Guardian.
EU officials also made the accusation that American policies that Trump’s White House orchestrated are leading to a deteriorating situation in which the U.S. president has “no friends” and has “only enemies.”
At the root of the European Union contention are decisions made by the U.S. to embroil the EU in a transatlantic trade war, and the U.S. deciding to pull out of the Paris Agreement and Iran deal.
On Friday, Donald Trump officially kicked of the trade war with a tweet, saying that if the European duties weren’t taken off American autos, the U.S. would retaliate twice as much by placing 20 percent tariffs on their cars coming into the U.S.
Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. & its great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2018
The move had the EU fuming, and they were already rankled by previous, stiff duties that started on June 1. That’s when companies in Europe that export steel and aluminum to the U.S. started seeing a 25 percent duty on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. President Trump called for the duties based on grounds of national security.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed the U.S. measures as “illegal,” and the EU retaliated with “rebalancing measures” on American-made products to the tune of “around €2.8bn,” which is about $3.25 billion USD.
Other reasons for the EU’s concern that threaten their long-term relationship with the United States relate to President Trump’s foreign policy, especially in regards to his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the date and location of the summit between the two leaders would be announced on Thursday, reports ABC News. The summit has British officials, in particular, concerned.
President Trump also made headlines ahead of the NATO summit for scolding the EU and Germany for not meeting their spending commitments. He called them out, saying, “Belgium has halted the systematic fall in defense spending and takes part in a lot of military operations.”
US president @realDonaldTrump railed again against Germany for falling below the #Nato defence spending commitments. At a meeting with @NATO Secretary-General @jensstoltenberg he said: "NATO members that do not meet commitments will be dealt with." https://t.co/orwD8dq0gU pic.twitter.com/pJCutQf3G3— DW | Politics (@dw_politics) May 18, 2018
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that Donald Trump sent letters to eight members of NATO cautioning them on failing to meet the commitments. Michel told the media that he was not impressed by the type of letter the president sent, according to Deutsche Welle.