Trump rips Macron for proposing new European Union army to defend against US

French President Emmanuel Macron chairs a cabinet meeting in Charleville-Mezieres northeastern France Wednesday Nov.7 2018

As president, Trump has repeatedly chastised North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members for failing to spend more on defence, and has suggested that the US was growing disinterested in "paying for Europe's protection" any longer.

On Tuesday, the French president said Europe needed a real army to reduce reliance on the United States for defense.

"During his visit to Paris, President Buhari will attend a luncheon hosted by President Emmanuel Macron of France in honour of visiting heads of delegations".

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States", he told France's Europe 1 radio.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have departed Washington for a weekend in Paris, where world leaders are gathering to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I.

Trump sent a tweet calling Macron's proposal "very insulting" as the US president's plane landed Friday evening for celebrations with world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

For Sunday's anniversary, Trump was to join world leaders at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. While Republicans slightly expanded their majority in the US Senate, they lost control of the US House of Representatives to Democrats who may use their newfound power to launch investigations into Trump and stymie his agenda.

The imminent departure from the European Union of Britain, long opposed to European Union military collaboration outside North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, has revived talk of defence cooperation - as have concerns that Trump might prove less willing than his predecessors to come to Europe's defence in the face of a newly assertive Russian Federation.

He planned to meet with Macron on Saturday for talks on topics expected to include European security, Syria and Iran.

"At some point in time, probably down at the end of this process, we may see something that people already describe as an EU army or an EU pooling of resources to make this EU defense identity more visible and more meaningful", Schinas said.

Macron's office declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

"Great world leaders", he said, are "driven by national interests".

Macron and other European leaders have repeatedly criticized Trump's efforts to undermine the deal, and have sought to create a special mechanism that would allow the bloc to avert USA sanctions and continue trading with Iran. Early on, Macron tried to position himself as a sort of "Trump whisperer" and Trump returned the favour, hosting Macron at the first and only state dinner of his presidency.

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