Germany’s Minister of Defence speaks up against Trump

Ursula von der LeyenGerman Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

President Donald Trump’s assertion that Germany owes NATO and the United States large amounts of money is incorrect, says Germany’s Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen.

– Germany has no debt to NATO, the German Defence Minister adamantly said.

Ursula von der Leyen stressed that Germany aims to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defence before 2024, in line with the decision made at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales.

Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel also stressed this when she visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday and also pointed out that Germany increased its defence budget by 8 percent last year.

For Trump, who has repeatedly stated that allies of the United States of America should contribute more to the defence alliance, the assurances from Merkel were clearly not enough.

– Germany owes huge sums of money to NATO and the United States are paying more for the powerful and very expensive defence we provide to Germany, was his latest tweet on the issue.

1.2 percent of GDP

According to NATO Germany last year used 1.2 percent of its GDP on defence, an increase from the 1.18 percent the previous year.

Von der Leyen is now advocating for “a more modern security concept”, where the modernization of NATO also must be seen in connection with development of a European Security and Defence Union and increased investment in the United Nations.

Drastic cuts

Trump recently presented a budget draft for 2018 which involves drastic cuts in US aid- and diplomatic operations.

USA is today paying around 28 percent of UN’s peacekeeping operations, amounting to about NOK 67 billion this year, while Germany contributes to around 6 percent of that budget.

USA additionally gives NOK 46 billion to the UN’s regular budget for 2016-2017, which correlates to somewhere around the 22 percent mark.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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