As the European Commission announced a settlement with Gazprom on Monday (13 March), officials told EURACTIV.com it was "highly likely" that the executive will approve the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy and defence.
"We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russian Federation where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russian Federation".
And he said: "Dear America, appreciate your allies - after all you don't have that many". But here's the rub: Many of those free rider countries are on track to up their spending to the required 2%, and oh by the way, the USA doesn't even spend 4%.
A US official said Trump would be ready to talk about New Start if Putin raised it, but it was not a big USA priority.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended Germany against Trump's remarks Wednesday morning and will meet with Trump in the afternoon.
"Many countries owe us", he argued.
But Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters she had "experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union" and said her country today made "independent policies" and "independent decisions". "So, we are supposed to protect you against Russian Federation", he explained.
EU President Donald Tusk stepped up to the fight with his own salvo against Trump on Tuesday, telling him to "appreciate your allies" and reminding him Washington that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.
By slapping higher tariffs on European Union metals experts and threatening more on cars, Trump has shown his anger at the USA trade deficit with the European Union.
"Yes, I think Trump has a point in that defence expenditure is a burden predominately carried by the U.S. The U.S. carries the load", Colin Robertson, a former top diplomat and the vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said in an interview with CBC News.
What did Trump say about Germany? NATO acknowledges an "over-reliance" on the U.S. What NATO partners dispute is Trump's repeated suggestion that the U.S. gets little in return for its commitment to defend member countries if threatened.
A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron said Trump had voiced his "personal attachment" to Europe and gave "rather positive and constructive messages" to his allies. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation.
Trump told reporters at the meeting that they were have a "great" exchange. The U.S.is at 3.5 percent, or $685 billion previous year.
When Donald Trump first spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin after becoming USA president, he reviled the "New Start" treaty - a pillar of arms control - as a bad deal for America.
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