Donald Trump: 'Nato is much stronger than it was two days ago'

Today in Trump’s America Trump castigates US allies at NATO summit

The stance has heightened tensions among leaders at the summit, where the U.S. president has been lambasting other member states for failing to spend enough on defence.

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.

Trump appeared to substantially overstate German reliance on Russian energy and to imply Berlin was funding a pipeline which German Chancellor Angela Merkel says is a commercial venture.

At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate". The U.S.is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade.

Says Stoltenberg: "We have agreed that we're committed to the pledge increasing defence spending to 2 percent".

Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, but said the atmosphere in the meeting was cordial. EURACTIV broke the story.

"NATO is not a stock exchange where you can buy security".

Arriving at Nato, Ms Merkel sought to put her countries ties to the western alliance in historical context.

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

"We had a very intense summit", Merkel told reporters after the session.

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The US leader has also singled out Germany for particular criticism over its defence spending.

Trump's biggest target for criticism, Germany, predicts that it will be spending 1.5 per cent of GDP on its military budget by 2024.

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she knew what it meant to be under Kremlin domination and was glad a united Germany was now able to "make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

Trump has repeatedly slammed Merkel for supporting a new pipeline that would cement Berlin's client relationship with Russian Federation and increase Moscow's influence.

The U.S. president has been the source of concern for many European allies, in and out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, with European Council President Donald Tusk warning Trump Tuesday to "appreciate your allies, after all you don't have that many", and reminding that "America does not have, and will not have a better ally than Europe".

"We are having a great meeting, we are discussing military expenditure and we are talking about trade".

British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to set the tone on Wednesday by announcing more troops for NATO's Afghan training mission.

"I brought it up, no one brought it up but me".

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally.

United States officials have told Reuters that Washington is preparing another review of strategy, a year after Trump begrudgingly agreed to extend involvement in the 17-year-old war.

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