US President Trump is repeatedly talking about the German arms budget. The new Minister of Defense wants to accommodate him.
The new Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, is calling for a significant increase in German defense spending. The CDU chairman told the newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” that the Federal Republic had given a “clear commitment” to NATO’s goal of increasing military expenditures towards two percent of the gross domestic product by 2024. She was aware that this could not be achieved overnight. But it was just as clear that “we really have to go down that road”.
Like the other NATO allies, Germany has pledged that defence spending will move in the direction of two percent of GDP by 2024. This would mean additional expenditures in the tens of billions. However, only 1.37 percent of economic output is now targeted for 2020, and according to the financial plan the quota is even to fall to 1.25 percent by 2023. This is causing trouble, especially in relation to the USA. US President Donald Trump urges Germany to increase its defence budget.
Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized that she had always criticized the fact that according to medium-term financial planning, the defense budget should decrease in the coming years. Now she will represent this position as minister and party leader in the cabinet and in the coalition committee.
Chancellor Merkel: “We owe that to our soldiers”.
At the same time, it turned against doubts about the credibility of the North Atlantic Alliance and the United States. “NATO is and remains the cornerstone of our security architecture,” she said. Although the coalition agreement provides for a stronger European pillar, it is unrealistic to believe that “a European initiative could replace NATO”. Such a thing was “out of the question”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday at a public vow for 400 soldiers in Berlin that the Bundeswehr needed more support, equipment and training to fulfil its tasks. “That is why we have already increased defence spending and will continue to do so,” the Chancellor said. “We owe that to our soldiers. We also owe this to our partners in the United Nations, NATO and the EU”.
Germany’s commitment to peace and security must be worth the expenditure, Merkel said. “I am firmly convinced that we must always prove that we are ready and able to deploy our armed forces and defend ourselves. This is a prerequisite for conducting negotiations and finding political solutions to conflicts. (mes, dpa, Reuters)