Barack Obama has accused Europe of being “complacent” about defense by failing to meet the NATO two percent spending target.

It came as he delivered a passionate plea for the European Union to hold together, saying it is one of the “greatest political and economic achievements of modern times.”

In an address in Hanover, the U.S. President said that NATO must spend more to address the crises in Syria and North Africa and to invest in new missile defense and cyber systems.

NATO is also increasing troop numbers and equipment in its eastern European neighbors who feel at risk of Russian destabilization. Obama warned that states are failing to pay their “full share” of spending two per cent of GDP on the military.  “I’ll be honest; sometimes Europe has been complacent about its own defense,” he said.

It follows remarks last month in which Obama said European states are “free riders” by demanding the U.S. act in North Africa without putting any “skin in the game”.

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, has said NATO is “obsolete” and the U.S. cannot “afford to be the policeman of the world.”

French president calls on Europe to bolster defenses without US support, suggests cooperation with Russia

Read Next: French president calls on Europe to bolster defenses without US support, suggests cooperation with Russia

In Europe, the share of domestic spending on the military has fallen six years running, to an average of 1.4 percent.

Read More: The Telegraph

Featured Image – Barack Obama with David Cameron, Matteo Renzi, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel in Hanover – The Telegraph.