Donald Trump said on Saturday that he was against NATO members benefiting from full protection if they fail to meet the alliance's spending targets and would not support such states if they were attacked by Russia. He added that in such cases he would encourage Moscow to do "whatever the hell they want". Europe's press voices concern in light of Trump's chances of re-occupying the White House.

Saying what he thinks

Journalist Bartosz Węglarczyk worries on Onet:

“I don't know which way America is heading. Looking at the Republican Party and its extreme aversion to strengthening freedom and democratic values in the world, I predict the worst. Europe must prepare for this. We have to assume that for Trump, signing a contract for the construction of one of his skyscrapers in Moscow will be more important than showing solidarity with Nato because he will make money with the former and not with the latter. Trump says this explicitly. And I believe him.”

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Isn't Trump right though?

Lidové noviny tries to put itself in Trump's shoes:

“His statement seems to be a betrayal of the West and a gesture of sympathy for Putin. But isn't Trump - even if the way he says it is arrogant and rude - also right? The EU has 450 million inhabitants, the US 335 million and Russia 145 million. Europe's population is therefore almost on a par with the US and Russia combined. ... Europe prides itself on being the world champion of the green transformation. Why is it not just as ambitious when it comes to defence? That is precisely Trump's message.”

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His re-election would be the end of Nato

Europe should listen carefully, warns La Stampa:

“Trump has said what he thinks about Nato. And if that's what he thinks, that's what President Donald Trump will do if he is re-elected. He will dissolve Nato. Europeans should be under no illusions. Without a firm commitment to collective defence in the event of aggression, and even more so without that of the main ally, Nato as we know it will be finished. And without Nato, the transatlantic bond that has held North America and Europe together for three quarters of a century will become a menu à la carte.”

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The dream of full coffers

Adevărul fears that Trump's strategy could work at home:

“It's true that the US is Nato's biggest contributor. But Nato defends the free world, especially Europe, against Putin's imperial instincts. That's also in America's interest. Trump, on the other hand, takes a different view. Anyone who wants to be defended by Nato should pay the bills for this protection. The bills are issued by the American president - who else. Trump is already imagining huge amounts of cash flowing towards America. ... To top it all, there are a lot of people in the US who think like Trump and are hoping that they will also benefit from the stream of cash. It wouldn't be surprising if Trump won the election with this philosophy.”

Europe must do more for its defence

This debate is not just about Trump, Postimees believes:

“To ensure Europe's independent defence capabilities, EU countries should increase their budget spending on defence to three percent of GDP or more. ... Both the EU and other Nato members should take defence more seriously, regardless of who is elected US president in the autumn. It would be most dangerous to hope that if Biden is re-elected, life under the US umbrella will continue as it is. ... Europe cannot count on constant military support from the US, which has always had a habit of withdrawing into itself from time to time.”

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