Trump and Nato summit
Sir, – Government leaders from around the world will meet in Brussels this week for the Nato summit, for the inauguration of their new headquarters, and to welcome US president Donald Trump on his first visit to Belgium and Europe.
Mr Trump has already announced a massive increase in military spending, and he has demanded that Europe adopt a similar policy. EU and Nato relations will be high on their agenda but the rise of national defence budgets up to 2 per cent of the gross domestic product will undoubtedly be one of the most important topics at this summit meeting.
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance (Pana) will be sending a strong delegation to attend a counter-summit in Brussels, the “Yes to Peace – No to Nato” conference organised by the World Peace Council. This will allow peace groups and peace activists from all over Europe and the United States to meet and to highlight our concerns.
From a neutral Ireland perspective, the critical issues we hope to highlight at this international peace conference will be the substantial increase in the number of US troops and military equipment passing through Shannon Airport and the ever-increasing militarisation of the EU that is moving us closer to a European army. – Yours, etc,
Peace and Neutrality
Sir, – A proud 20-year old student claimed on Belgian TV that 10,000 activists from a wide range of interest groups have pledged to take part in demonstrations against US president Donald Trump’s visit to Belgium. I too dislike most of what he stands for, and much of what he does, but I disapprove of these demonstrations. They consist almost entirely of non-Americans, to whom he has no direct responsibility; they are in breach of the customary laws of hospitality; and they are pointless, as he won’t actually see them (except edited on TV, perhaps). The protesters can surely rely on their elected leaders to express their concerns, in measured argument rather than by crude placard, during the visit of the world’s champion deal-maker. – Yours, etc,