Germany rejects Trump claim it owes US ‘vast sums’ for defence
President’s tweet claiming Germany also owes Nato dismissed by minister of defence
Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Donald Trump during a news conference in the White House in Washington, US. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
“There is no debt account at Nato,” Ms von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 per cent of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to Nato.
“Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS [Islamic State] terrorism,” Ms von der Leyen said.
She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern Nato but also a European defence union and investment in the United Nations.
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
...vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
Mr Trump said on Twitter on Saturday – a day after meeting German chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington – that Germany “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!”
Mr Trump has urged Germany and other Nato members to accelerate efforts to meet Nato’s defence spending target.
German defence spending is set to rise by €1.4 billion to €38.5 billion in 2018 – a figure that is projected to represent 1.26 per cent of economic output, minister of finance Wolfgang Schaüble has said.
In 2016, Germany’s defence spending ratio stood at 1.18 per cent.
During her trip to Washington, Dr Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 per cent military spending goal.