French President Emmanuel Macron sought to defuse a row with US counterpart Donald Trump on Saturday, hailing the “great solidarity” between their countries after Trump blasted his proposals for a European army.
The two leaders held talks at the presidential palace in Paris ahead of World War 1 commemorations taking place in the shadow of a new nationalist surge worldwide.
Their body language was less warm than during Trump’s last trip to Paris in July 2017 and Macron’s visit to the White House in April, underscoring a general cooling in relations which were further strained by a late-night tweet by Trump on defence.
Macron attempted to smoothe over the divisions, saying he shared Trump’s view on the need for Europe to boost defence spending.
“We need a much better burden-sharing within NATO,” he said.
Defending his call during the week for a European army, he said: “It is unfair to have European security being assured by the US”.
Trump, who maintained an aloof bearing on arrival at the Elysee Palace but was visibly more relaxed after the talks, described himself and Macron as “very good friends”.
“We want a strong Europe. It’s very important to us to have a strong Europe,” he said.