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13 July 2018, 11:40 | Erica Roy
Image The US president and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg clashed over breakfast
He raged. He claimed victory.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained that it was not possible to mobilise funding outside the agreed national budgets. The U.S. provides 70 percent of NATO's budget.
As well as Chancellor Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Mr Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when USA taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6% of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.
"We had a very intense summit", Merkel herself told reporters after the meeting.
Those leaders, plus another 23 countries that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's 29 members, are bracing for a repeat performance from him at today's NATO summit in Brussels.
At the end of the first session of a two-day summit, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the aim first was to reach 2 percent, but moments later Trump tweeted that allies were undercutting the United States on trade and needed to immediately boost spending. Demonstrators say that hundreds of thousands of people are planning to take to the streets tonight and tomorrow, and are planning to float a giant balloon caricature of Trump outside Parliament.
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According to German press agency DPA, Trump said that unless the Allies immediately increase their defence budgets to the 2% of GDP target, the U.S. will "do its own thing".
"All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"
When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary".
By the end of that meeting, despite the pushback, Trump felt victorious.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gestures as he holds a news conference during the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018.
Kerry said Trump "displayed a woeful ignorance of the work his predecessor's administration did to increase European defense spending", referring to former President Obama, under whom he worked.
Speaking after what he called a "substantive meeting", Mr Stoltenberg acknowledged the day's conversations had included "disagreements".
He also reportedly said that if the accelerated target - which was originally agreed for 2024 - is not honored the USA would "do our own thing", sources told the New York Times and Washington Post. "Everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment".
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