NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Europe against undermining transatlantic ties, following a defence spat between US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron.
Trump had tweeted on Friday (9 November) that Macron’s call for a “real European army” was “insulting”.
President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The US leader’s criticism came after Macron spoke about the need for a European army and listed the US along with Russia and China as a threat to European security.
Without referring specifically to Macron’s call for a European army, Stoltenberg said he welcomed stronger EU efforts on defence that could strengthen NATO.
But he warned European members against duplicating the alliance’s work and jeopardising relations with the United States.
“More European efforts on defence is great but it should never undermine the strength of the transatlantic bond,” said Stoltenberg at a forum in Berlin on Monday.
“This is partly about substance but also partly about perception because perception matters.
“If we speak too much about a phrase like, for instance strategic autonomy… it sounds like you’re going to do these big strategic things alone and I don’t think that’s wise.
“Two World Wars and a Cold War taught us the importance of doing things together,” he said.
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