President of the US Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elyseep Saturday to discuss security in Europe and the Middle East.
The American leader traveled to Europe with the first lady Melania Trump to participate in a ceremony Sunday on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ceasefire that ended the First World War, killing 40 million people. The ceremony takes place in the Arc de Triomphe and is attended by dozens of world leaders.
Controversy seems to follow the American leader, and a new one erupted when Air Force One landed at Orly Airport on Friday.
Trump pushed a message out to his host and called Macron's call for a European soldier's "very offensive."
In the touchdown tweet, Trump suggested that Europe would first pay "its share" of NATO before considering a European engine.
When he got off his plane in Paris, a group of White House journalists called him questions about the Twitter message. Trump stared at the journalists, but did not respond until he entered the presidential limousine.
Hot and cold relationship
The new dispute between the two leaders, who have had a warm and cold relationship, threatens to shed a light during the Sunday ceremony.
The United States and France were allies in both world wars and partners in the post-war security structure for Western Europe: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is composed of separate forces of different strengths and capacities of the member states.
Trump has, since taking office almost two years ago, repeatedly questioned the mutual defense pact and criticized European countries for not meeting promises to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense. He also stressed that the United States must take care of itself first, before the needs of other nations, and reject the concept of globalism.
During a visit to the Western Front in Verdun in the First World War against Europe 1, Macron told Europe that Europe should "defend itself better" against a revived threat to Moscow and that Europeans can not protect themselves without a "real European army". "
Macron also injured in the interview Trump's recent announcement that Washington will withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty of 1987, restricting nuclear weapons that US President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev agreed.
The "main victim" of the withdrawal, Macron said, is "Europe and its security".
The French president added that Europe must also protect itself "in relation to China, Russia and even the United States of America."
Nine defense ministers from European countries discuss how such a new international force would work.
European leaders have seen Trump's demands for billions of extra dollars in defense spending as a threat to the United States to withdraw from the almost 70-year alliance.
But the idea of a European army has limited support in Berlin and London. Political and defense analysts wonder whether European countries have the will, the money or the military equipment to replace the raw power of the United States.
The subject comes into focus, because leaders commemorate the fallen of a century ago in the war that ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.