Author: CYNTHIA KROET
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Germany to spend more on defense to help keep Europe safe.
“For me it’s decisive that the U.S. and Germany agree that we have to invest more in our security,” Stoltenberg told Handelsblatt on Tuesday.
But he added that this was not “about making the U.S. happy” but rather about Europe’s security.
“Europe is much closer to the crises and threats than the U.S., closer to Russia, closer to Syria and Iraq,” he said.
NATO members agreed in 2014 to aim to raise defense spending to 2 percent of GDP within a decade. But only five NATO members (the U.S., Britain, Greece, Poland and Estonia) are meeting the target.
“We don’t expect Germany to get there in one or two years,” Stoltenberg said.
The topic was also part of the discussions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump last month. Trump tweeted that Berlin “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!”
A German government spokesperson said Merkel and Trump had discussed defense expenditure during their meeting. But Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel claimed last week the idea that Germany would spend €70 billion each year on the army was “absurd.”