Trump sees Putin meeting as easiest of tour

In the past seven months Europe’s leaders have bickered over Pesco the EU’s Permanent Structured Co-operation policy

Speaking on the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit here in Brussels, I would like to address President Trump directly, who for a long time now has been criticising Europe nearly daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US.

Similarly, earlier on Tuesday the president tweeted, "Getting ready to leave for Europe".

He then plans to travel to the United Kingdom where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

But NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg pointed out that military spending had been rising in Europe since 2014 and members were making efforts to meet the objective, particularly Germany, which is often singled out by Trump for criticism.

In a pointed apparent reference to Mr Trump's meeting with Mr Putin, Mr Tusk noted that European military spending "is an investment in our security, which can not be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending".

Asked whether May should be replaced as prime minister, the USA president replied: "Well that's up to the people".

May is grappling with a political crisis in London after Brexit Secretary David Davis and her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, resigned over her proposals for a "business friendly" Brexit, or exit from the European Union.

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Trump has even called into question Nato's principle of collective defence - under which an attack on one member draws a response from all - for allies he feels are not paying their dues.

"Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don't have all that many", he said. "We pay far too much and they pay far too little", Trump told reporters before leaving the White House on Tuesday morning. But Trump countered by saying the arrangement puts the United States at a disadvantage, pointing to the measly share of gross domestic product (GDP) that most members spend on defense.

Member countries are anxious that Trump will spurn them and threaten to unravel the organization, their fears stemming from the G7 meeting last month.

Instead of blaming Putin for invading Ukraine - an act of war that prompted the G7 to expel Russian Federation from the group - Trump has attempted to pin blame on former President Obama.

"There are particular issues between the European Union and the United States because of the trade tariffs issue. we'll be talking positively about how we can continue to work together in our special relationship". The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.

Trump meets Putin on July 16. "We are being taken advantage of by the European Union". The EU did strike back with retaliatory tariffs on United States goods. Tusk recalled that the Europeans are spending more than Russian Federation and as much as China on defense.

Pressed about the President's comparison of May with Putin, the spokesman added: "I interpreted that as being delivered in humour".

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