'Refreshing and strange': Trump's demands drive wedge into NATO

In tweeting complaints about Germany on Tuesday in apparent response to Merkel's questions about USA reliability, Trump casts the US not as the world's policeman but as its most temperamental bully.

German officials have repeatedly insisted that, as a member of the European Union, they can not conduct bilateral trade talks with the USA and that they are not ready to dramatically increase military spending.

Trump and Merkel "get along very well", Spicer said.

He also urged the European Union leaders to stand up for the Paris Agreement on climate change, which Donald Trump could also forsake.

Merkel yesterday repeated nearly word for word her message from Sunday, when she told her Bavarian conservative allies in a packed Munich beer tent that "we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands".

Trump's applecart-upsetting comments during his first European visit as president sent shockwaves through the transatlantic community, with some observers like Ivo Daalder, the former USA ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, calling the moment a turning point. "Very few people would know that Bundesliga has a widespread following in India", he said in his speech after India and Germany signed 12 MoUs and agreements covering diverse sectors, including youth development and vocational training. "Today, the United States is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading".

Not helping matters was Trump reportedly calling Germans "very bad", because the country exports far more cars to the United States than it imports.

The message came minutes after Merkel and Modi held a joint press conference in which the German leader called India a "reliable partner with respect to big projects".

But after Merkel and other senior German officials, who are campaigning ahead of September national elections in their own country, spent the weekend attacking Trump, the USA leader returned to the theme.

"It is inappropriate that we are now communicating with each other between a beer tent and Twitter", he said in Berlin.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called Mr Trump's decision "seriously wrong", while the commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete, said "the world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change".

"Transatlantic ties are of paramount importance to us. but the current situation gives more reasons for.us to take our destiny in our own hands", she said Tuesday.

Martin Schulz, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats, told reporters Trump was "the destroyer of all Western values", adding that the USA president was undermining the peaceful cooperation of nations based on mutual respect and tolerance. The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker'.

Like many euro zone countries, indebted Italy, Spain and Belgium face European Union constraints on the budgets following years of financial crisis.

  • Larry Hoffman