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Trump goes head to head with Tusk on Nato funding

Demands: Donald Trump was locked in a Twitter spat with EU and Nato chiefs over trade and defence spending PICTURE: AP

DONALD TRUMP set off a spat with European Union chiefs last night as he headed to a Nato summit in combative mood.

In a tweet sent before his departure for Brussels, the US president hit out at the EU on trade and his Nato allies for not spending enough on defence.

‘We lose 151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!’ he tweeted.

In a separate post, he demanded: ‘NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!’

But Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, fired back: ‘US doesn’t and won’t have a better ally than EU.’

And in an apparent reference to Mr Trump’s meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin next week, Mr Tusk added: ‘We spend on defence much more than Russia and as much as China.

‘I hope you have no doubt this is an investment in our security, which cannot be said with confidence about Russian and Chinese spending.’

The Nato summit, which lasts until tomorrow, is expected to be dominated by US demands for increased spending by members of the 29-nation alliance. Britain is one of only five Nato nations to meet the target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence, but Theresa May is expected to face pressure to increase budgets when she joins talks with other leaders in the Belgian capital.

Responding to Mr Trump’s comments, a No.10 spokesman said: ‘This is something the president has said on other occasions. The UK has itself on a number of occasions urged everybody to work towards meeting that two per cent target, which we of course do meet and exceed.’