The 2018 NATO Summit begins amid tensions between the US and European Union, with EU Council President Donald Tusk calling on President Trump to show respect for his allies amid his continued calls for EU member states to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.
US President Donald Trump has criticized the energy agreement between Berlin and Moscow and said that Russia controls Germany through energy resources.
“We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country that we are supposed to be protecting you against. You know, everybody is talking about it all over the world, saying — wait a minute, we are supposed to be protecting you from Russia, but why do you pay billions of dollars to Russia for energy? Why our countries in NATO, namely Germany, are having a large percentage of the energy needs paid to Russia and taken care of by Russia?… I think it is something that NATO has to look at, I think it is very inappropriate,” Trump said at a meeting with the NATO top management.
The US president lashed out at Germany, calling it “a captive” to Russia and stressed that Berlin “only makes Russia richer.”
Trump sharply criticized the NATO countries that had approved the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.
Chancellor Angela Merkel responded to Trump by saying that Germany was independent in its policy choices.
“I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions. That is very good, especially for people in eastern Germany.”
“Germany is the second largest provider of troops, the largest part of our military capacity is offered to NATO and until today we have a strong engagement towards Afghanistan. In that we also defend the interests of the United States,” she stressed.
Rhetoric of US President Donald Trump regarding Germany’s dependence on Russia’s energy supplies is “not helpful,” Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission vice-president for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Trump lashed out at Germany over its heavy reliance on Russia’s oil and gas supplies, calling Berlin “a captive” to Moscow.
“Of course we find that kind of rhetoric not helpful,” Dombrovskis told a press conference, when asked to comment on Trump’s remarks.
Earlier, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom reported at the end of February and in the beginning of March about record volumes of gas exports to Europe.
In 2017, Gazprom increased its gas exports to non-CIS countries by 8.4 percent to 194.4 billion cubic meters.
According to the stats from Marex Spectron Group Ltd, Russian fuel accounted for over 60 percent of German natural gas imports in 2017. Germany also backs the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to the EU under the Baltic Sea, which will create an alternative route for Russian gas.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is projected to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to the EU across the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine.
A number of countries have opposed the implementation of the project, particularly Ukraine, which is afraid of losing profits from the transit of Russian gas, and the United States, which seeks to export its liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe.