French President Emmanuel Macron denied that NATO states agreed to increase defense spending beyond previous targets, pushing back on US President Donald Trump’s claim, earlier on Thursday, that the alliance agreed to increase spending.
During a press conference, Trump said that the allies had agreed to dramatically increase spending, RT reported.
“Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before,” Trump told reporters after the second day of the Brussels summit.
“Commitments were made. The commitment was at 2 percent, ultimately that’ll be going up quite a bit higher than that,” he added.
Macron also pushed back on media reports that the US leader had threatened to unilaterally pull out of NATO, saying Trump “never at any moment, either in public or private, threaten to withdraw from NATO”.
The French President also criticized Trump’s suggestion that the target for NATO members’ defense spending should be raised from 2 to 4 percent of GDP.
NATO members agreed in 2014 that they would aim to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2024. Trump upped the ante during the Brussels summit, demanding that member states increase spending from 2 percent to 4 percent. He also urged allies to reach the goal “immediately” rather than through a gradual spending increase.