Author: JANOSCH DELCKER
BERLIN — Germany will stick to its pledge to increase military spending to 2 percent of GDP, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, taking a swipe at her junior coalition partner and election rival.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded that European allies increase their military spending so that the United States shoulders less of the financial burden for the Continent’s security umbrella.
However, German Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz said last month he did not take the view that NATO members were obliged to reach the spending goal, which was included — with phrasing that left room for interpretation — in a declaration by alliance leaders at a summit in Cardiff in 2014.
Asked whether Berlin stood by the commitment in light of the doubts cast upon it by the SPD, Merkel noted that the German government as a whole had signed up to the Cardiff declaration — a government composed of her Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats.
“The entire German government agreed to the Cardiff agreement,” Merkel told reporters after a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, two weeks before a Brussels summit of alliance leaders including Trump. “We will adhere to this, and we will work towards it.”
Schulz is the Social Democrats’ challenger to Merkel in a September parliamentary election and his campaign strategy includes distancing himself from the current government.
Germany currently spends about 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense, compared with America’s 3.6 percent, according to NATO statistics.
Source: http://www.politico.eu/ article/merkel-germany-stands- by-nato-spending-pledge- despite-spd-doubts/