Why is Donald Trump putting the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance in the firing line?

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'President Donald Trump says NATO benefits Europe more than the United States, as he prepares to meet with treaty allies in Brussels.

How much do countries spend on defence then?

The meeting brings together more than 40 heads of government including the 29 allies and non-member partners from Finland to Afghanistan, underlining the organisation's reach. "Not fair to the USA taxpayer". "Europe needs more of a single voice within the alliance".

"NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we'll work something out".

In a pointed apparent reference to Mr Trump's upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir 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". Smith, who served as a national security advisor for then-Vice President Joe Biden, said Trump does not seem to understand the amount planning it takes for some of these governments to expand their budgets. "We're being taken advantage of by the European Union", Trump said, adding that US NATO spending "helps them a lot more than it helps us".

Trump will meet the Russian leader in the Finnish capital on July 16 for their first summit amid an ongoing investigation in the USA into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Now, cumulative expenditure by Europe and Canada has risen by nearly $90 billion since 2015.

"I would like to directly address President Trump, who has for a long time now been criticising Europe nearly daily, for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defence capabilities, and for living off the US".

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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.

The Brussels elite fears that he will embrace Mr Putin, despite the Russian annexation of Crimea and incursions into Ukraine.

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

He has already imposed tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium exports and is threatening to do so on cars. "We are being taken advantage of by the European Union". "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!"

Mr. Trump said as he arrived at the breakfast that the situation is "not fair to the taxpayers of the United States but we will make it fair".

Speaking about his upcoming meetings on his European tour, including his first summit with Putin next Monday in Helsinki, Trump said "frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all".

United States ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that Trump would also recommit to one of the founding articles of NATO - Article 5 - which holds that an attack on one member is an attack on them all.

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