President Donald Trump claims that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense, which was rejected by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday.
There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.”
“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” 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 defense union and investment in the United Nations.
…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
Germany and other NATO members were urged to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defense spending target.
German defense spending from 2016 is 1.18 percent and is set to rise to 1.26 percent of economic output, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.
During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.