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Germany ‘committed’ to increasing defense budget, but nowhere near US expectations

Germany ‘committed’ to increasing defense budget, but nowhere near US expectations
While Angela Merkel says Berlin is “committed“ to boosting military expenses, figures from the budget draft proposal suggest Germany’s efforts are still way below what NATO expects.

German military expenses are in the public eye this week as a budget draft proposal is due to be presented on Wednesday. Alongside the other 28 NATO members, Berlin pledged to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defense back in 2014, but so far failed to exceed the 1.24% mark.

A reluctance to comply with NATO standards prompted heavy criticism from US President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who expect a bigger contribution from Europe.

Prior to the budget talks Chancellor Merkel said that Germany is “committed to increasing its defense budget towards the NATO target.” Figures, however tell a different story.

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According to the Spiegel newspaper, the government is set to only slightly increase the Bundeswehr funding. It’s expected to go up to 1.37% of the nation’s GDP but then the expenditure share will plummet to just 1.25% of GDP by 2023.

The uncertainty about the issue has prompted a harsh response from US Ambassador Richard Grenell. The diplomat accused the government of “reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness” adding that it is a “worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO allies.”

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Figures from 2018 show that, apart from the US, the average defense expenditure of NATO members amounts to 1.47% – way below the initially proposed 2% mark. Just 4 European countries of the alliance – Greece, Estonia, the UK and Latvia – managed to meet the target.

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