BRUSSELS – United States President Donald Trump launched on Wednesday a tirade against a planned natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that he said would bring Berlin fully under Moscow’s control and undermine NATO’s principles.
Trump’s scathing criticism of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline during a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg set a bellicose tone for his participation at an Alliance summit in Brussels, where several member heads of state and government were to discuss, among other things, defense spending contributions, another thorny issue for the White House leader, who has often said the US is paying more than its fair share.
“I think it’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia and we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” Trump said, in reference to the multi-billion dollar deal to boost natural gas flow from Russia to Germany and the European Union via an underwater pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline, and you tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not and I think it’s a very bad thing for NATO,” added the president, who was flanked in the meeting by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Stoltenberg, in turn, said the pipeline deal was not a NATO affair, but rather a decision taken at a national level by Germany.
Trump said the deal should never have happened and then took aim at Germany’s NATO defense spending contribution.
“Germany is a rich country. They talk about how they could increase it (their defense spending contribution) a tiny bit by 2030, well they could increase it immediately tomorrow and have no problem,” Trump said.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the United States, so we’re gonna have to do something because we’re not going to put up with it, we can’t put up with it,” he added.
The Nord Stream 2, which is pending final approval, has said it aims to transport gas from reserves in Russia, some of the largest known in the world, straight to the internal market in the European Union to meet future energy demands.