Germany won't meet its defence spending commitment to NATO

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 16.5.2018 13:18

Germany's Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, stated on 14 May that Germany's goal was to increase its defence spending to 1.5% of the GDP by 2024, in spite of its 2014 Wales pledge to reach NATO's 2% goal by that date. 

This was the first public acknowledgement by Germany that it won't honour its promise, in spite of the previously numerous reassurances given by Angela Merkel. A change in the rhetoric of the Chancellor herself was noticeable also on Monday when she stated that her government remains committed to working "towards" the 2% goal. This course change will be met with frustration in Washington, as President Trump has repeatedly called on Germany to meet its commitments on defence. Given the 2024 milestone, and assuming Trump would win a second term in 2020, Germany's could see its relations with the US worsening for years to come. It is likely that the timing of this shift in attitude, following the US unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was not chosen randomly. Germany might consider using its NATO commitments as a leverage in its commercial and politico-diplomatic relations with Washington, yet this approach could fuel additional tension within the Alliance and provide further incentives for its opponents on both sides of the Atlantic. Ahead of the July NATO Summit, Transatlantic relations are going through a major value diversion.  

About author: Mihai Turcanu


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