US President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview with a German daily that NATO is "obsolete" and accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of committing a "catastrophic mistake" with her refugee policy to allow nearly 890,000 refugees into the country in 2015.
"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know, taking all of the people from wherever they come from," Trump said, although he added that he has "great respect" for Merkel.
In the interview, Trump said that he considered the 28-member Atlantic Alliance to be "very important," but he noted that it was designed decades ago and has not concerned itself specifically with fighting terrorism, Efe news reports.
He also said that many members of the alliance do not invest the required percentage of their GDPs in defence.
"The countries aren't paying their fair share so we're supposed to protect countries," Trump said in the interview. "There's five countries that are paying what they're supposed to. Five. It's not much," adding that this was "unfair" to the United States.
Five days before taking office, the Republican praised Merkel as a "fantastic leader," but he harshly criticized her refugee policy.
Trump also backed the "Brexit" decision to abandon the EU and said he believes that more countries will leave the EU because both people and countries want their own identity and do not want other people coming illegally from abroad to their territory.
Trump emphasized the need to strengthen border controls in the US and did not rule out that Europeans could be affected, although he said that he would not act as Germany had done and allow in hundreds of thousands of people "from wherever they come from. And nobody even knows where they come from".