Merkel: NATO's 2 pct defence spending target not "some fetish"

Mr Trump and Mrs Merkel met at the White House in late April

Mr Trump and Mrs Merkel met at the White House in late April Credit KEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS

Next year, in 2019, we will probably reach 1.3 per cent. In particular, it is planned that by 2025 Germany will be on defence spending to 1.5% of GDP.

Germany will fail to meet an annual defense spending goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the country's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) announced on Monday.

The target was not some fetish, but reflected changing security requirements in the world, she told senior officers at her first appearance at a biennial meeting of military top brass since 2012.

Speaking during an annual conference of the armed forces (Bundeswehr) in Berlin, von der Leyen predicted that the German military budget would only grow gradually from now 1.24 percent of GDP to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2019 and 1.5 percent of GDP in 2025.

Mr Trump and Mrs Merkel reportedly have a strained relationship
Mr Trump and Mrs Merkel reportedly have a strained relationship Credit Mark Wilson Getty

Merkel said her appearance was meant to underscore the importance of the military at a time when some lawmakers are anxious that boosting defence spending could lead to a militarisation of German society.

"The 2 percent is not a fetish that has nothing to do with the Bundeswehr, but it is necessary to allow us to fulfil the requirements of our worldwide deployments, plus the need for homeland and alliance defence", Merkel said. He allegedly added that available money would be used to boost investment in digitization and lower income taxes.

After a meeting with Merkel, he said last month: "We talked about the security of Europe and the responsibility of European nations to properly contribute to their own defence". It is essential our allies increase so everyone is paying their fair share. "They have to keep going".

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