US President says French criticism of NATO is 'very dangerous'
The US President responded on Tuesday to his French peer, Emmanuel Macron's, recent criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as "brain dead" and defended Washington's threat to levy tariffs on some French exports in retaliation for what the White House said were 'discriminatory' taxes against US technology companies.
Ahead of a the start of a two-day NATO summit in London, Donald Trump said Macron's remarks were "very dangerous", arguing that the defensive military alliance served a great purpose.
"[Macron's remarks] were very, very nasty statement to essentially 28 countries," Trump said.
And in remarks posted to his personal account on Twitter, Trump added: "In the 3 decades before my election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds, and only 3 other NATO members were meeting their financial obligations.
"Since I took office, the number of NATO allies fulfilling their obligations more than DOUBLED, and NATO spending increased by $130B!"
The remarks from the two leaders took place against the backdrop of a spat over Paris's decision to levy a digital tax on large technology companies.
Just the day before, the US Trade Representative had said that the French tax 'discriminated' against US corporates and was "inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy", threatening as a result retaliatory tariffs which were expected to kick-in in early 2020.
His claim was denied by France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, who on Tuesday also told broadcaster Radio Classique that his country was ready to drop the new tax as soon as a deal was reached on overhauling the current tax system as per the recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The new 3.0% tax would be applied on sales from digital services by any company generating more than €25.0m of sales in France or €750.0m worldwide.
According to Le Maire, France could "count on European solidarity" on the matter.