French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday hailed his three-hour talk with visiting US President Donald Trump as “fruitful”, despite their brief spat on Europe-US defence cooperation, media reported.
“We have decided, President Trump and I, to work together for the stability of the Middle East, which will have a positive impact on the price of oil,” he said on his twitter account, noting that their close-door conversation focused on issues of counter-terrorism, European defence, Iran, Syria, the Gulf region and Libya, among others.
Earlier on Saturday, Macron received Trump at the Elysee Palace. In his opening remarks, Macron told reporters that he “do share Trump’s view that we need a better budgetary within NATO … because it means more Europe and more capacity within NATO, in order to keep ourselves secure,” reports Xinhua.
Responding to a spat between him and Trump over his proposal for a “real European army”, Macron insisted that his proposal “is truly consistent with” Trump’s demand for European NATO members to raise their defence budget.
Hours ago, upon his arrival in Paris, Trump slammed Macron’s suggestion of “a real European army” as “very insulting”.
“Perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidises greatly!” he tweeted.
Trying to defuse the episode, Macron recalled “the tremendous solidarity” linking the “oldest allies” in his opening remarks.
For Trump, security cooperation between his country and Europe should be more fairness-oriented. He told reporters in the Elysee Palace that the United States wants a secure Europe and wants to help, “but it should be fair.”
The US can only do so much in fairness of itself, said Trump, adding that “different countries have to also help.”
Trump had been frequently criticising European nations for failing to meet the official annual defence spending target of two per cent of gross domestic product set by NATO.
According to NATO figures, only five of 29 allies, namely Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Britain and the US, met their defence spending targets this year.
In July this year, Macron said that a NATO summit statement had confirmed the goal of two per cent by 2024.