July 12, 2018 10:21 am
Updated: July 13, 2018 11:08 am

Trump threats and an awkward breakfast — 5 takeaways from the NATO summit

ABOVE: Does Canada need to boost its NATO spending?


The NATO summit in Brussels wrapped up Thursday, with U.S. President Donald Trump saying member nations, including Canada, have agreed to increase defence spending.

In case you missed the two-day summit, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel called “very intense,” here are five key takeaways.

Trump says allies will ‘substantially’ increase spending

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On Thursday, Trump said NATO members have agreed to substantially increase spending on their own defence but did not give specifics on which countries had committed to what.

READ MORE: Donald Trump says NATO members will ‘substantially’ increase defence spending

Many NATO members were already working to increase their defence spending in recent years. The current commitment is to reach two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024 but with get-out terms that would allow some to stretch it out to 2030.

Trump suggested speeding up the timeline as well as getting members to boost defence spending to four per cent of GDP, a bigger share than even the United States currently pays, according to NATO statistics.

WATCH: Trump has ‘no doubt’ that Canada, NATO allies will increase defence spending

Trudeau does not give a timeline

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has reconfirmed its existing NATO commitments and will increase its defence spending by 70 per cent over the next decade.

But when Trudeau was pressed to provide more details about Trump’s insistence that allies have agreed to spend more (and do it quickly), he did not give a specific timeline.

Instead, he said Canada, which currently spends 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence, had promised to reach the two per cent target but did not say when.

WATCH: Trudeau vague on specifics when it comes to what NATO nations actually agreed to

Trump reportedly threatens to pull out of NATO

An emergency, allies-only meeting was called Thursday to address the defence spending issue amid reports that Trump had threatened to leave the alliance if members did not ramp up a financial commitment.

READ MORE: Trump’s body language at NATO speaks volumes about frosty relations with allies

However, some government officials disputed this.

“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” French President Emmanuel Macron said.

At a media conference, Trump was asked if he thought he could withdraw from NATO without backing from Congress, and said he believed he could but it was “unnecessary.”

Trump says Germany ‘totally controlled’ by Russia

On Wednesday, during a breakfast with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said that Germany was “totally controlled by Russia” because of its gas imports, and it was a “very bad thing for NATO.”

He questioned why the U.S. spends billions of dollars protecting Germany through NATO, while the country was supporting gas deals with Moscow.

The German chancellor hit back at Trump’s claim.

“I wanted to say that, because of current events, I have witnessed this myself, that a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. And I am very happy that we are today unified in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany,” Merkel said.

Canada’s commits more in Latvia, new training mission in Iraq

During the summit, Trudeau announced Canada plans to extend its NATO commitment in Latvia by another four years to March 2023 and increase the number of troops in the country to 540 from the current 455.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau says Canada will command training mission in Iraq

The prime minister also said the Canadian military will command a new NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq, which will begin in the fall of 2018 in Baghdad. It will include as many as 250 Canadian Armed Forces personnel and up to four Griffon helicopters to support NATO activities.

WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau announces Canada to lead NATO mission in Iraq

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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