Pentagon to NATO: talk to Team Trump

"Instead of planning expensive new headquarters or dreaming of a European army, what Europe needs to do now is to spend more on its own defence, that is the best possible approach to the Trump Presidency", Fallon said.

But, in a clear sign of disunity in the bloc, the British and Hungarian foreign ministers refused to attend the ad-hoc meeting convened after Trump's shock victory at the polls on November 8. What does it portend for a Trump/Putin relationship?

Many nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have lagged in their defence spending, failing to meet the pledge of 2 per cent of GDP, and Stoltenberg said the United States had rightly called for others to pay a more equal share.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told European Union defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday that "a strong NATO is important for Europe but it's also important for the United States".

She said it was too early to know what Trump would do, but added "there's a need for Europeans to take care of themselves" in security terms.

Speaking at a conference at Harvard University Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, said Trump's win was a "political wake-up call" that demonstrates a decline of democratic values and a rise of populist ideas in both the US and Europe.

"Maybe the way he said it was sharp but the criticism was right that we have to contribute more ourselves", Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in an interview in Paris. We have to take more responsibility for the problems in our immediate environment... "But Europe must not wait for others' decisions, it must defends its own interests - that is to say the interest of Europeans - and at the same time reaffirming its strategic role on the global level". The top diplomats held a special meeting Sunday night about the USA election, and they hope to boost Europe's role in world affairs until Trump's plans become clearer.

Officials said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who has told his European Union counterparts to snap out of the "general doom and gloom" and "collective whinge-o-rama" following the USA election result - would skip Sunday's talks.

But European planners were at pains to stress the plan would not rival the work of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which Britain, one of two nuclear-armed European members together with France, is setting as a priority since it voted to pull out of the European Union. He said the value of the partnership between Europe and the United States was "indispensable". "We need to enhance our capacity in defense and security".

He also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin despite his annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and his intervention in Syria, where Russian air strikes have killed many civilians as well as insurgents.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson mocked the meeting as a "whinge-o-rama", while Whitehall sources dismissed it as "huffing and puffing" created to allow European Union officials to posture as opponents of Trump.

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