German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday sharply rejected former US President Donald Trump's comments that he would not defend NATO allies whose defense spending does not reach 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) when he returns to the White House after November's presidential election . “Any relativization of NATO’s guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous,” said Scholz at a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Berlin, recalling the importance of NATO’s common defense clause. The organization: “All for one and one for all.”
These statements responded “solely to Russia’s interests,” criticized Scholz. “No one should play or negotiate with the security of Europe,” he added during the appearance at the Berlin Chancellery, where he insisted that NATO is based on the principle that “every inch of NATO land is defended.” the “Everyone can trust that it will be so.”
Tusk gestured in the same direction as his German counterpart, but took the opportunity to emphasize that all NATO members must increase their defense spending, regardless of Trump's words. “I am convinced that Trump's words must be like a cold shower for all of us,” said the Polish Prime Minister, recalling that his country had already achieved the goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense. “The lesson we can learn from the attack on Ukraine is that no one doubts that we need to improve our defense potential. “Europe must rise to every challenge,” he added.
In doing so, Tusk emphasized the need to “systematically strengthen defense efforts within NATO in the coming years.” And all this regardless of the fall election results in the United States, he added.
A strong EU militarily
Tusk used his first visit to Berlin after being sworn in last December to remind people of how important it is that the European Union is “not only an economic power, but also a military power.” “The EU must not be weak in the military area.”
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For his part, the German Chancellor recalled the special allocation of 100 billion euros announced last year, which will make it possible to achieve the NATO target of 2% of GDP for defense spending in 2024 for the first time in more than three decades and This was already a few hours This was previously made clear at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ammunition factory owned by the arms company Rheinmetall.
“It is an urgent need. As harsh as this reality is, we do not live in times of peace. Russia's war of aggression and Putin's openly expressed imperial ambitions represent a major threat to the European peace order. “If you want peace in this situation, you have to successfully deter potential attackers,” he told those responsible for the new factory.
The appearance of the two European leaders therefore focused on the statements of the almost certain Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States, Donald Trump, who said last weekend that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever it wants.” .” against any NATO country that, in his opinion, does not spend enough on collective defense.
These statements were also sharply criticized by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who also described them as “irresponsible” and “playing into Russia’s hands.” “And no one in our alliance can have an interest in it.”
The former US president had already repeated in the past that it was unfair that the US had to take responsibility for the defense of the other 30 member states. He particularly criticized the fact that Europeans were spending too little on weapons.
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