Donald Trump has described Emmanuel Macron’s call for the EU to have its own army to protect itself from the US as “very insulting”.
The US president – who touched down in Paris on Friday evening ahead of a weekend of events commemorating the end of the First World War – did not take long to hit out at his French counterpart upon his arrival.
Responding to an idea floated by Mr Macron earlier this week for the bloc to have its own dedicated military, designed to defend Europe from China, Russia and the US, Mr Trump hit out soon after landing.
He tweeted: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia.
“Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidies greatly!”
Mr Macron made the pitch during an interview with radio station Europe 1, ahead of a meeting of defence ministers from nine European countries to discuss how such a force would operate.
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the US,” he said.
“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s Euromissile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security.
“We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army.
“We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the US.”
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the amount of money European nations commit to NATO compared to the US.
Earlier this year, during a private meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels, he suggested allies double their targeted 2024 spending commitment from 2% of their GDP to 4%.