On the eve of the centenary of the World War I armistice, French President Emmanuel Macron met here with visiting U.S. President Donald Trump Saturday, as the latter called for more fairness in security cooperation with Europe.
Prior to a close-door talk, Macron, with Trump sitting beside him, told reporters in the Elysee Palace that they would talk on topics including trade, anti-terrorism, the Iran nuclear deal and climate change, among others.
Noting that France and U.S. maintain close cooperation in many fields, particularly in security, Macron told reporters that he "do share Trump's view that we need a better budgetary within NATO," and his proposal for a "real European army" is "truly consistent" with that.
"Because it means more Europe and more capacity within NATO, in order to keep ourselves secure," said the president.
Since taking office, Macron has endeavored to push for a joint European Union military force, asserting that Europe needed to reduce its dependence on American might. He further called on the continent Tuesday to build a "real European army" to better defend itself.
Commenting on Macron's remarks, Trump told reporters in the Elysee Palace that the United States wants a secure Europe and wants to help, "but it should be fair."
The United States can only do so much in fairness of itself, said Trump, adding that "different countries have to also help."
Trump is currently in his three-day trip in France for the commemoration. Upon his arrival in Paris Friday night, Trump slammed Macron's suggestion of "a real European army" as "very insulting".
"Perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!" he tweeted.
Trump had been frequently criticizing European nations for failing to meet the official annual defense spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product set by NATO.
According to NATO figures, only five of 29 allies met their defense spending targets this year -- Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Britain and the U.S.
In July this year, Macron said that a NATO summit statement had confirmed the goal of 2 percent by 2024.