Merkel Signals She’ll Snub Trump’s Demand to Spend More on DefenseBy
Trump has said Germany ‘owes vast sums of momey’ to NATO
Merkel and Trump to both attend May 25 meeting of NATO leaders
Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that Germany will refuse U.S. demands to bring forward planned increases in defense spending, saying that extra outlays are already being made.
President Donald Trump, who has said that Germany “owes vast sums of money” to NATO, is due to travel to Europe later this month for a meeting in Brussels of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders, including the German chancellor.
Merkel, speaking in Berlin on Thursday after talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the goals of the May 25 meeting, said the German government was committed to raising spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024 “and is working on it.”
“In past years we have shown that we have made increases, so I see no need for further provisions on May 25,” the chancellor said.
Germany increased its defense budget by 8 percent this year to about 37 billion euros ($40.1 billion), though it still falls far short of the 2 percent of GDP target. Merkel also argues that development aid should be taken into account as a security component.
In a tweet sent a day after hosting Merkel at the White House, Trump said the U.S. “must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”