Germany to increase defense spending, but not high enough for Trump

Germany to Increase NATO Defense Spending Amid US Pressure to Pay Fair Share

Germany to Increase NATO Defense Spending Amid US Pressure to Pay Fair Share

Angela Merkel supported the objective of 2% on defense.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday it would be wrong to cancel the nuclear agreement with Iran, highlighting it as one of her main differences of opinion between Berlin and Washington.

The appropriate level of military funds has become the subject of heated discussion in the governing grand coalition, with defense minister Ursula von der Leyen demanding a further increase to at least 1.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP) or around 60 billion euros.

Merkel told the officers that German military needed to rebuild after years of declining spending, and said there had been no objections when the former West Germany spent 2.3 percent of its GDP on the military during the Cold War.

Von der Leyen said the required notification would be sent to parliament soon, but gave no details.

Germany plans to spend on defense is 1.5% of GDP until 2025 despite the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requirement to spend 2%.

Speaking earlier Monday, Merkel told the conference that Germany "needs to stand by the promises that we made".

For her part, Sahra Wagenknecht, president of the opposition Left Party (Die Linke), supported Merkel's position on the JCPOA and said that 'we have demanded a more autonomous and independent policy from the United States, and we are happy that we are no longer alone on that position'.

German lawmakers begin debate on Tuesday on a federal budget that proposes raising defense spending from 37 billion euros past year to 41.5 billion euros ($50 billion) in 2019, equivalent to about 1.28 percent of GDP.

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