U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron met during the NATO summit in London on Dec. 3. While relations between the two presidents have recently been marked with tensions and disagreements, they seemed to find common ground and hope for a stronger alliance in NATO.
Trump and Macron met ahead of a NATO summit in London, shortly after Trump said that Macron had been “very insulting” by describing NATO as “brain dead.”
“I think that’s very insulting to a lot of different forces,” Trump said. “I’ve always had a good relationship with Emmanuel. Sometimes he’ll say things that he shouldn’t say.”
Before the summit, President Trump said that the United States is paying a “disproportionate amount” to the alliance. He also asked Europe to make concessions to U.S. interests on trade.
Meanwhile, the French president criticized the United States for withdrawing from Syria without consulting European allies.
Despite the tensions arising from their differing approaches to foreign policy, the two presidents showed signs of openness to each other.
“This is perfectly true that the U.S. over-invested decade after decade, and it is number one by far,” Macron said. “And I do share the [Trump’s] statements. That is why I am a strong supporter of a stronger European component in NATO.”
Trump said that he hoped more European countries would meet their commitments to the Alliance.
“NATO is becoming different than it was, much bigger than it was and much stronger than it was because people are now fulfilling their commitments,” he said.
According to former French Foreign Affairs Minister Hubert Vedrine, the relationship between the French and U.S. presidents can not be reduced to one meeting.
“We must be careful not to characterize everything through a moment, an image, or an aspect,” Vedrine said.
According to Vedrine, although NATO countries have different security interests that lead to differences of opinion, the same challenges also keep them together.
“In the current context, there is no reason why France should not maintain a relationship with the United States, characterized by the formula ‘Allies, friends, but not aligned,’ which is a diplomatic formula,” Vedrine said.
Trump also said that the disputes between the United States and France over trade can be resolved.