PARIS (Reuters) - The United States wants a “strong Europe” and is willing to help its ally, but Europe must be fair when it comes to sharing the defense burden, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday.
“We want a strong Europe, it’s very important to us and whichever way we can do it the best and more efficient would be something we both want,” Trump said in remarks after being greeted by President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
Asked what he meant when he tweeted that he felt insulted by Macron’s comments that Europe should reduce its dependence on the United States for security, Trump said: “We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now the burden sharing has been largely on the United States.”
Macron said he shared Trump’s view that Europe needed to finance a greater share of the NATO military alliance’s costs. “That’s why I do believe my proposals for European defense are fully consistent with that,” he said, speaking in English.
The two leaders would discuss issues including Iran, the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, climate change and trade during an hour-long meeting, Macron said.
Trump has toned down his threat of tariffs on cars manufactured in the European Union while the two sides discussed the removal of tariffs on EU aluminum and steel imports.
Trump said negotiations were making progress.
“We’ll see if we can get it over the line,” Trump added.
Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Richard Lough; editing by Luke Baker