Donald Trump labels NATO alliance obsolete
ANGELA MERKEL has led a sharp European response to Donald Trump after he branded the NATO military alliance "obsolete" and criticised the German chancellor's "catastrophic" open-door refugee policy.
In an explosive interview with German newspaper Bild and The Times of London, Trump unleashed a volley of verbal attacks on Europe, hailing Britain's decision to leave the European Union and saying more countries were going to quit the bloc.
"I said a long time ago - that NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was, you know, designed many, many years ago," he said.
"Number two - the countries aren't paying what they're supposed to pay. I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete. It's obsolete because it wasn't taking care of terror."
Trump also praised Britain's impending exit from the European Union as being "so smart."
"I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing," he said.
.@FoxNews "Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand." Oh really, couldn't do...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2017
With fears growing in Europe over the US President-elect's commitment to the transatlantic alliance and over signs he will pivot towards Russia, Merkel warned that the continent now had to take responsibility for itself.
"We Europeans have our fate in our own hands," Merkel told reporters in Berlin when asked about Trump's criticisms, adding that she will work towards getting the EU to strengthen the economy and fight terrorism.
Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Europe was stunned by Trump's remarks on NATO, just five days ahead of the billionaire businessman's inauguration as president."The interview statements of the American president-elect ... caused, indeed here in Brussels, astonishment and agitation," Steinmeier said as he went from a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to talks with EU counterparts.
France's top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault said "the best response" to Trump's comments was "the unity of Europeans".
NATO said it was "absolutely confident" that the US would remain "committed" to the organisation.