“Appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” EU Council president Tusk told US president Trump Tuesday, as NATO and the EU signed a joint declaration to strengthen military cooperation.
Speaking on the eve of a NATO summit in Brussels, Mr Tusk said America did not have, and will not have “a better ally than Europe”.
He added that Europeans spend on defence was “many times more than Russia, and as much as China”, and Mr Trump’s “almost daily” criticisms of Europe were unjustified.
Mr Tusk stressed the importance of solidarity and wanted to dispel Mr Trump’s argument that the US alone protects Europe against its enemies, “and that the US is almost alone in this struggle”.
“Europe was first to respond on a large scale when the US was attacked and called for solidarity after 9/11. European soldiers have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in Afghanistan. 870 brave European men and women sacrificed their lives, including 40 soldiers from my homeland Poland,” he said.
President Trump, who is due to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, was asked: “It is always worth knowing: who is your strategic friend? And who is your strategic problem?”
The new NATO – EU joint declaration, sets out a shared vision of how the EU and NATO will act together against common security threats.
The declaration states that NATO and the European Union are strengthening cooperation in a range of areas, including military mobility, counter-terrorism, resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks, and promoting the women, peace and security agenda.
The two organisations have already stepped up cooperation in recent years, including on maritime security, countering hybrid threats and fighting terrorism.
NATO and the EU now exchange real-time warnings on cyber-attacks, participate in each other’s exercises, and work together in responding to the refugee and migrant crisis.