German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen rebuffed a recent allegation by U.S. President Donald Trump that Germany owes “vast sums” of money to the U.S. and NATO for its defense.
In a statement Sunday, the minister said, “There is no debt account at NATO.” She also claimed that it was not right to associate NATO’s target for member nations to allocate 2 percent of their financial output on defense by 2024 exclusively to the alliance.
She explained that: “Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism.”
She added that if it was everybody’s wish for the burden to be fairly distributed, a “modern security concept” must be established. The new model should also include a European defense union and investment in the UN in addition to an upgraded NATO.
According to President Trump’s Twitter post Saturday, a day after he met with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the Federal Republic “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
In order to meet the alliance’s defense spending goal, Trump has been pushing Germany and other NATO member states to pick up the pace of their efforts.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has indicated that his nation’s defense budget will increase by 1.4 billion euros, which would amount to a total of 38.5 billion euros in 2018. This figure represents 1.26% of Germany’s economic output, as opposed to 1.18% in 2016.
Chancellor Merkel restated that Germany was committed to NATO’s 2% military spending goal, during her meeting with the U.S. president.