Germany Set for Largest Defense Budget Boost since Cold War, Still Far off NATO Target

Germany Set for Largest Defense Budget Boost since Cold War, Still Far off NATO Target

If it materializes,, the step could be deemed a major German concession to US President Donald Trump’s constant criticism.

Germany, the largest economy in the EU and the second largest in NATO, is set to increase its defense spending by some EUR 5 billion, the largest boost since 1991, the year when the Soviet Union was dissolved, and the Cold War ended.

Despite the major increase, however, Germany’s defense budget would still be far below the NATO target of 2% of the GDP, a source of frequent criticism for the country by its main NATO ally, the United States, and especially by US President Donald Trump.

Germany is ready to raise its annual defense budget by EUR 5 billion (USD 5.6 billion) this year to reach EUR 47.3 billion, German news agency DPA reported on Friday, as cited by DW.

According to the report, the new increase, Germany’s defense spending would amount to 1.35% of the country’s GDP.

If it materializes, Germany’s defense budget boost might be construed as a concession to US President Donald Trump, who also keeps targeting the EU’s largest economy on trade.

During the 2018 NATO summit, Trump even threatened that the United States might leave NATO if allies did not reach the 2% of GDP defense spending target.

The 2% target is indicative as there is no mechanism for the NATO allies to force one another to meet it but all of them formally committed to meeting it within a decade, a decision made during the NATO summit in Wales back in 2014.

At the time, only three NATO members, the US, the UK, and Greece, met the target, whereas a NATO report from March 2019 shows that four more allies have joined them: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Another Eastern European NATO (and EU) member state, Romania, is close at 1.92%.

Germany’s 2018 defense spending stood at 1.23% of its GDP, with the figure barely changing since the commitment made in Wales back in 2014.

German officials have been responding to American criticism about their country’s low defense spending by arguing that the indicative deadline for meeting the 2% target is 2024.

(Banner image: Bundeswehr on Twitter)

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