NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has urged allies such as Germany to spend as much as possible two percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense.
The summit meeting in July showed that there was pressure to act, said the Norwegian at the opening of two-day talks with NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
Stoltenberg thus alluded to the recent escalation of the dispute over higher defense expenditures. US President Donald Trump even threatened to quit the Alliance at the summit in an effort to bolster his demands for higher spending.
The American has been lamenting for a long time an unfair burden sharing in the military alliance and is attacking Germany in particular because of its comparatively low expenditure ratio of only 1.24 percent of GDP. The USA was last at 3.5 percent.
Trump justified his demands above all by the fact that the heads of state and government of the NATO states had agreed in 2014 that countries spending less than two percent of their gross domestic product on armaments and military, by 2024 on the “benchmark” of two Percent should move. Berlin is already satisfied with this goal if it increases its spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by then. Trump thinks that this is too little.
How the dispute over defense spending continues is open. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis did not make a confrontational statement at the meeting in Brussels. After a bilateral meeting with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, he said that the United States would “recognize” Germany’s ongoing efforts to increase defense spending. From the German side there was initially no reaction.