NATO marks 70th birthday
December 4, 2019 - At a London summit marking North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary, leaders of the 29-member alliance will likely adopt a Franco-German proposal for reform after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the relevance of NATO.
At the December 4 summit, allies are expected to agree to share more of running costs and reduce U.S. share of funding for the NATO headquarters in Brussels, and its staff. Europe is also likely to agree to boost NATO battalions, ships and planes as a deterrence against any potential Russian attack.
Before taking office, Trump called NATO “obsolete” and has repeatedly stated his desire to withdraw from NATO. He continues to criticize the alliance, demanding that NATO members pay more in defence spending.
NATO had planned to hold a meeting of leaders in Washington to mark its 70th anniversary in April. That meeting was downgraded to a foreign ministers gathering, as some diplomats feared that Trump would use a Washington summit to renew his attacks on the alliance, as he did in July 2018.
At that annual gathering of NATO leaders in Brussels, Trump upended the proceedings, berating allies for not meeting the NATO spending goal of two per cent of economic output (GDP). At the meeting, he surprised leaders by demanding four per cent and walked out during a speech by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.