Theresa May and Donald Trump have agreed on the importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) as they talked over the phone for second time since the President-elect's victory, a Downing Street spokesman announced on Tuesday (29 November).

Number 10 said the conversation was part of "establishing a regular dialogue" between the British prime minister and Republican politician.

"They discussed how the President-elect's transition plans were progressing and agreed that their teams should continue to build close relationships though this period, including with a meeting of their National Security Advisers in the United States before Christmas," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

"They discussed Nato, agreeing on the importance of the Alliance, the need for more Nato members to meet the target of spending 2% of GDP and the role that Nato can play in addressing diverse threats. They agreed to stay in close touch and to meet at the earlier possible opportunity."

The UK and Poland are just two EU nations who meet Nato's 2% of GDP per year defence spending target. Trump has been critical of the military alliance during the US election campaign, warning that he would only help Nato allies if they pay their "fair share".

Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, told IBTimes UK that the economic and political bloc could become an "empire of the good" in reaction to Trump's shock election to the White House.

If [Trump] goes in the direction of more protectionism, we should speed up our trade negotiations with Mexico, Japan and all the other countries that we are negotiating with at the moment," he said. "The same with defence. Let's create a European defence union, let's take on our responsibilities... Let's become an empire, an empire of the good and not of the bad."

The former prime minister of Belgium wants to create an EU army, a policy the UK government opposes. Verhofstadt said the European military union would form one of two Nato "pillars".

"A North American pillar on the one hand, a European pillar on the other," he said.

Elsewhere, former Foreign Secretary Lord David Owen has urged the government to increase military spending to 2.5% of GDP.

"Only in a revived Nato, where European countries are no longer as President [Barack] Obama rightly accused us of being 'freeloaders', and we make a greater financial contribution, will Europe redress the imbalance between us and President Putin's Russian Federation," he said in October.