European army project ends Trump-Macron bromance

The friendship between the US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, which was seen as a role-model for US-EU relations, has been put to the test.

Even before Trump’s visit to France, he was outraged when Macron said it’s necessary to build a common European defense. Later, during their meeting, all seemed to be forgotten. But not for long. 

Trump attacked Macron on Twitter over his statements during an event for the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. Macron criticized Trump for his nationalist approach and policies and he responded sharply, mentioning Macron’s failing preferences and unemployment in France.

Their dispute is, however, still mainly caused by the common European defense issue. While Macron is a long-time proponent of European integration in the field of security, Trump repeatedly threatens his allies that NATO might not be defending those not contributing the promised 2 percent. 

Paris does not reach the 2 percent limit yet. It expenses amount to only 1.8 percent of GDP in defense. "Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China, and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!,“ the American president wrote on Twitter. 

European activities also attract the attention of the Alliance itself. At first, NATO had been skeptical about the ideas, now it cautiously admits them under certain conditions. "We welcome Europe's greater efforts in the defense field, but it has to realize them within NATO. If there is something we have learned from the two world wars and the Cold War, then it is how important transatlantic unity and friendship are," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

According to security expert Rachel Rizzo, working for the Center for a New American Security, Macron´s effort does not necessarily undermine NATO as critics fear. Rizzo has previously stated that the efforts may lead to better cooperation. She thinks that both parties will finally understand that undermining each other is of nobody´s interest.

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