President Donald Trump has arrived in Brussels for what his team is describing as “tough” talks with other members of the NATO military alliance.
President Trump is now meeting EU leaders. He has been critical of both blocs.
NATO has agreed to Donald Trump’s request to join the US-led coalition against ISIS. The president may also press members to pay their full financial share.
European leaders will seek assurances of President Trump’s commitment to US allies.
European Council President Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter: “I’ll aim to convince POTUS [President of the US] that euro-atlanticism means the free world co-operating to prevent post-West world order.”
After landing in Brussels on May 24, President Trump met the Belgian king and queen while thousands demonstrated against his presence in the center of the city.
Earlier, President Trump was granted a short private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
The NATO summit will see the alliance agree to a US plan for the military alliance to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamist militants, particularly jihadist group ISIS – but France and Germany insist the move is symbolic.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Today we will decide to expand our support to the coalition with more AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System] flight time, more information sharing and air-to-air refueling.
“This will send a strong political message of NATO’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and also improve our coordination within the coalition but it does not mean that NATO will engage in combat operations.”
Donald Trump has voiced criticism of other NATO countries for spending less on defense than an agreed 2% of national output.
Ahead of May 25 meetings, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that President Trump “really wants to persuade NATO members to step up and fully meet their obligations”.
He added: “I think you can expect the president to be very tough on them and say… <<We are doing a lot. The American people are doing a lot for your security, for joint security. You need to make sure you’re doing your share for your own security as well>>.
“That’s going to be the core of his message to NATO.”
Rex Tillerson also said President Trump had yet to make a final decision on whether the US would remain in the Paris climate agreement.
Before going to NATO HQ, where he will deliver a short speech, Donald Trump is due to have a private lunch with new French President Emmanuel Macron after meeting the leaders of the European Commission and European Council.
Emmanuel Macron is expected to try to persuade Donald Trump not to renege on the Paris climate accord.