Tuesday

16th Jul 2019

Trump embraces Poland, attacks Germany once again

US president Donald Trump has pledged to send at least 1,000 extra troops to Poland to deter Russian aggression.

He also praised Poland's nationalist-populist government, while again attacking Germany on defence spending and on its Russia gas pipeline.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Trump has also courted friendly relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin despite Russian aggression in Europe and meddling in US elections (Photo: kremlin.ru)

Trump signed the military deal with Polish president Andrzej Duda in Washington on Wednesday (12 June).

The accord stipulated that Poland would pay for "basing and infrastructure for 1,000 American troops".

But Trump said at a press conference that "they [Poland] are talking about 2,000 troops".

"He [Duda] would like to see 250,000 troops," Trump also joked.

The extra soldiers would complement the 4,500 US soldiers already in Poland on a rotational basis as part of Nato's Russia-deterrent forces sent there after Russia invaded Ukraine.

For his part, Duda said: "Russia again is showing its unkind, unfriendly, imperial face ... Russia is always looking to take our territory".

But Trump, who has courted friendly ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, played down the Russian threat, while recalling Germany's Second World War assault on Poland.

"I think that Russia will treat Poland with respect ... when bad things happen, it seems that Poland is always the first one that's in there. And it's unfortunate. No, I hope that Russia and Poland and Germany and everybody is going to get along," Trump said.

Poland has called for the extra US troops to be stationed permanently at a new base called "Fort Trump".

The idea has raised heckles from the Kremlin, which claims that it would violate a 1997 Nato-Russia accord.

But Trump noted that the Fort Trump plan had not yet been agreed.

"We haven't totally made up a decision. No. We haven't finalised anything," he said.

"I don't talk about permanence or non-permanence", he added.

Nato head Jens Stoltenberg also praised the idea of more US troops in Poland in remarks from Brussels.

It "shows the strong commitment of the United States to European security and the strength of the transatlantic bond", he noted.

Duda and Orban

Duda's US visit came after Trump recently hosted Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban at the White House in similar pomp.

Poland and Hungary are under EU sanctions procedures due to attacks on rule of law and backsliding on democracy.

But Trump indicated that Poland had done nothing to merit the EU action.

"They don't want to backslide. They won't backslide ... We're very, very happy with Poland," Trump said.

"Someone cheated you [the US media]. There is no problem with democracy in Poland. Really," Duda also told press.

"Everything is excellent," Duda added. "That's what I hear. OK?," Trump added.

His warm words fell short of allowing Poles to visit America without a visa, even though Poland pledged to buy dozens of US fighter jets and large amounts of liquid natural gas in sweeteners ahead of Wednesday's event.

Germany

The US leader also repeated his previous attacks on Germany for underspending on defence and for building a new gas pipeline with Russia called Nord Stream 2.

He indicated the extra US troops would be moved from Germany to Poland as a punishment for its low contribution to Nato.

"It would be no additional troops to Europe. We'd be moving them from another location ... as you know, we have 52,000 troops in Germany, and Germany is not living up to what they're supposed to be doing with respect to Nato, and Poland is," Trump said.

The number of US troops in Germany is 33,000, according to the US defence department.

Trump declined to say if he would impose sanctions on Anglo-Dutch, Austrian, French, and German firms which are funding Nord Stream 2.

"It's ... something that I've been looking at and I'm thinking about," he said.

Nord Stream 2

The US, as well as eastern and nordic EU countries, see the pipeline as a threat because it would help Russia to cut off energy supplies to Poland and to EU and Nato-aspirant Ukraine.

It would also help to enrich Russia in a move that went against Nato's strategic concerns, Trump noted.

"So, we're protecting Germany from Russia. And Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars of money from Germany," he said.

"I think the German people aren't very happy about it. Because it really makes Germany a hostage of Russia if things ever happened that were bad. Hopefully, that will never be," he added.

Trump advocates no-deal Brexit on eve of UK visit

Johnson and Farage in charge, a no-deal Brexit, chlorinated chicken in British shops, and privatised healthcare - that is what the UK should head towards, Trump and his ambassador have said.

Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve

EU countries ought to draw "red lines" for US president Donald Trump on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Herman Van Rompuy, the former head of the EU Council, has said.

EU anti-trust chief 'hates' US, Trump says

US president Donald Trump has accused EU anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager of "hating" the US after she opened a case against another American tech giant.

Opinion

Polish Left need to unite for October election

The EP elections results are the reality check and unless Polish opposition regroups into two blocks, there will be a hefty price to pay. This means an urgent need for unification of the Polish Left.

News in Brief

  1. Ansip's ex-cabinet chief to head EU cybersecurity agency
  2. Malta starts trial of journalist murder suspects
  3. Full text of von der Leyen candidacy speech to MEPs
  4. Von der Leyen open to further Brexit delay
  5. Von der Leyen promises carbon border tax
  6. Brexit: both UK PM candidates say Irish backstop is 'dead'
  7. Mogherini: Iran's nuclear enrichment 'reversible'
  8. Report: Selmayr to leave 'next week'

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'
  2. Von der Leyen's final appeal to secure top EU post
  3. EU talks tough on Turkey, but arms sales go on
  4. The Abortion Exodus - more Poles and Croats going abroad
  5. Poland's ex-PM loses EU parliament chair again
  6. Von der Leyen reaches out to left and liberal MEPs
  7. Farmers among new MEPs deciding on EU farming money
  8. Von der Leyen's EU vote far from sure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us