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11 Jun, 2020 09:58

Berlin confirms its ally the US is ‘considering’ scaling down its military presence in Germany

Berlin confirms its ally the US is ‘considering’ scaling down its military presence in Germany

Germany has confirmed reports its NATO ally the US is thinking about pulling some of its troops from German soil. News of Trump’s plan to cut the number of soldiers stationed in the country has left local politicians baffled.

Politicians in Berlin were startled by reports last week that US President Donald Trump had directed the Pentagon to withdraw 9,500 of the 34,500 American troops stationed in Germany.

"The federal government has been informed that the US administration is considering reducing the presence of US armed forces in Germany," Deputy Government Spokesperson Ulrike Demmer told reporters on Wednesday.

"As far as we know, no final decision has been made," she clarified.

The news apparently came as a surprise to the German government, as officials jumped to bash their NATO ally for the decision to scale down its military presence in their country.

Also on rt.com ‘Completely unacceptable’: Merkel ally slams US decision to withdraw troops from Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coordinator for transatlantic relations, Peter Beyer, called Trump's plan "unacceptable" and criticized him for not informing Berlin in advance. In a similar vein, Johann Wadephul, deputy leader of Merkel's parliamentary bloc, said that Trump's plan "neglects an elementary leadership task: the involvement of allies in the decision-making process," and will benefit only Russia and China.

Relations between the US and its NATO allies in Europe have become strained in recent years, as Trump pressed them to contribute more to the military bloc's budget. He often singled out Germany as an example of a country failing to hit the alliance's target of spending two percent of their GDP on defense. 

"Germany honestly is not paying their fair share," Trump said last fall, adding that European nations are taking "advantage" of the US, whose military spending encompasses 70 percent of NATO defense expenditure. 

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer promised last year that the country will hit the two-percent goal in 2031 "at the latest." 

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