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Values first, Europe tells President Trump

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Values first, Europe tells President Trump

Tusk - Trump - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - "The greatest task today is to consolidate the free world around Western values, not just interests," EU Council President Tusk told US President Donald Trump when he met European leaders Thursday.

Mr Tusk, European Commission President Juncker and European Parliament President Tajani were having their first meeting with the U.S. President before he went on to meet other European leaders at NATO headquarters.

On the agenda were discussion on areas of EU-US cooperation, including security, climate change, foreign policy and trade.

The leaders of the EU institutions did not agree eye to eye on Russia. However, there was some common ground on Ukraine, Mr Tusk suggested, and "we agreed on many areas. First and foremost, on counter-terrorism. But some issues remain open, like climate and trade."

President Tusk highlighted the values, like freedom and human rights, which give EU-US cooperation and friendship "its deepest meaning [...] The greatest task today is the consolidation of the whole free world around those values, and not just interests," he said. "Values and principles first - this is what we, America and Europe, should be saying", he added.

After what was deemed a cordial meeting, Mr Trump went on to meet EU leaders at NATO headquarters.

Here, there was no doubting his message, as he berated the leaders on not paying NATO's way, saying that "NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations."

Mr Trump said that 23 of the 28 member nations were not paying what they should be paying for their defence, and that this was not fair on American taxpayers.

Pointing out that the United States had spent more on defence over the last eight years as all other NATO countries combined, he suggested that "if all NATO members had spent just 2 per cent of their GDP on defence last year, we would have had another 119 billion dollars for our collective defence and for the financing of additional NATO reserves."

EU Relations with the United States of America - EEAS -

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