North Atlantic Treaty Organisation braces for bruising summit with Trump

Nato forces including US troops take part in Sabre Strike exercise in Poland in June

U.S. President Donald Trump said his efforts had pushed other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to contribute more to the Western defence alliance but it was still not enough to offset the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

Trump has long complained that European Nato members do not pay enough for their own defence, accusing them of freeloading on America and singling out Germany for particular criticism.

Speaking at the start of a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's secretary-general, Mr. Trump said the US was "spending far too much" on defense.

Nord Stream 2 is a proposed gas pipeline from Russian Federation to Germany.

As European Council president, Mr Tusk serves as the chairman when EU leaders meet at summits.

The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.

President Trump will attend a closed-door summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday and has said no aides from the United States would be present for much of the talk.

"You tell me if that is appropriate?"

Mr Stoltenberg - apparently startled by the ferocity of the U.S. president's assault - shot back as he reminded Mr Trump of NATO's common cause.

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the Western allies at a broader level and he referred to non-NATO issues such as trade, where Trump is angry over the US trade deficit with the European Union.

However, his comment that "Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they are getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline" appeared to mis-state German energy use - about 20 percent of which is accounted for by oil and gas imports from Russia.

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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.

"You're not dealing with Russian Federation, you're making Russian Federation richer", Trump said.

Previous US presidents also urged greater defence spending from European nations.

Mr Stoltenberg also stressed how "even during the Cold War, NATO allies were trading with Russia". The project is opposed by the US and some European Union members. 'I think its a very bad thing for NATO, ' Trump said.

Stoltenberg later said Trump had "very direct language" but "when it comes to the core message we actually all agree... we have to share the burden more fairly".

He said that of the high-stakes meetings of his trip, "Putin may be the easiest of them all". "I think the president knows that's not true as well".

In Europe this year, four countries will meet the 2 percent target - compared with three last year - and another two nations will reach it if the figures are rounded up to one decimal place.

Despite Russia's aggressive moves in Ukraine and confirmed election meddling in the US, the president wouldn't say if Putin was friend or foe.

Mr Tusk also made the point that the U.S. did not and would not have a better ally than the EU, reminding the president that it was European troops who had fought and died in Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

But Trump then dismissed that recent increase in spending as a "very small amount of money" relative to what was owed from the past and what should be the current level.

Mrs May said: "Nato is as vital today as it ever has been and our commitment to it remains steadfast".

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