US President Donald Trump said he held a “big meeting” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the NATO summit on Wednesday after harsh criticism of Germany.
The tone of his comments contrasted with the speech delivered over breakfast to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. At the time, the American president warned that the German dependence on Russian energy left the country “under the control” of Moscow.
Following on, Merkel referred to her youth in East German controlled by Soviets-allied communists, to insist that Berlin is now completely sovereign.
“We’re having a big meeting, we’re discussing military spending … talking about trade,” Trump told reporters authorized to enter the meeting room.
“We have a very good relationship with the chancellor, we have a tremendous relationship with Germany,” he said, adding that he had raised Washington’s concerns about the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline between the two countries.
Merkel, speaking through an interpreter, said the meeting was an opportunity to assess the “future of our business relations”.
The German chancellor said it was very important to hold talks with Trump because “we are partners, we are good partners and we want to continue to cooperate in the future.”
Trump had said that Germany is completely controlled by Russia, which receives billions of dollars from Berlin for its gas. According to the American leader, it is an injustice that the United States still has to commit itself to the defense of this European country.
On Wednesday, Trump had a brief working breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Germany is paying billions of dollars a year to Russia, while we are defending this country from Russia. They are building a gas pipeline, the purpose of which is to pay billions of dollars for the Russian treasury, and I consider that to be completely unacceptable that Germany works for a Russian gas company,” Trump said, referring to state-owned Gazprom.
“It should not be allowed for Germany to do this,” he continued. “Germany is being completely controlled by Russia.”
“Germany contributes a little more than 1% to NATO, while we pay a lot of money. And that has happened for years,” Trump concluded.