The diplomatic push came after Trump shocked many in Europe by appearing to invite Russia to invade any NATO member not spending enough on its own defense.
The governments of Poland, France and Germany have vowed to make Europe a security and defense power with a greater ability to back Ukraine. The move has taken on an urgency as fears grow that former Donald Trump might return to the White House and allow Russia to expand its aggression.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday, said he wanted to “revitalize” his nation’s relations with its key European partners.
“There is no reason why we should be so clearly militarily weaker than Russia, and therefore increasing production and intensifying our cooperation are absolutely indisputable priorities,” Tusk said in arguing for the European Union to become “a military power” in its own right.
The diplomatic push came after Trump shocked many in Europe over the weekend by appearing to invite Russia to invade any NATO member not spending enough on its own defense.
“‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’” Trump recounted telling an unidentified NATO member during his presidency. “‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.’”
Trump’s words at a campaign rally were particularly alarming for NATO’s front-line nations such as Poland, which experienced both German and Soviet occupation during World War II and later spent decades under Soviet control.
Asked about Trump’s remarks, Tusk said they “should act like a cold shower for all those who continue to underestimate this increasingly real threat which Europe is facing.”
Tusk also urged European nations to invest more in military projects in order “to achieve as quickly as possible… in the next dozen or so months, much greater air defense capabilities, much greater production capabilities in terms of ammunition.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also blasted Trump’s comments.
“NATO’s promise of protection is unrestricted, ‘all for one and one for all,’” Scholz said without mentioning the former president by name.
“No one can play, or ‘deal,’ with Europe’s security,” the chancellor added.
Macron, speaking alongside Tusk in Paris, said Europe’s will “to further supply and meet Ukrainian needs is crucial,” after leaders of the 27 EU member nations sealed a deal to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros in support for its war-ravaged economy.
This “will enable us to make from Europe a security and defense power that is both complementary to NATO and a pillar of the Atlantic alliance, Macron said.
Trump’s remarks raised concerns that if reelected, he could embolden Russia to attack other countries besides Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement Sunday saying that Trump’s remarks put American troops and their allies at greater risk.