Germany Rejects Trump’s Claim It Owes NATO And U.S. ‘Vast Sums’ For Defense

BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense.

“There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.

“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said.

She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

Trump said on Twitter on Saturday - a day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington - that Germany “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defense spending target.

German defense spending is set to rise by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018 - a figure that is projected to represent 1.26 percent of economic output, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.

In 2016, Germany’s defense spending ratio stood at 1.18 percent.

During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.




Germany trades barbs with Donald Trump on defence after the President tweeted it owes NATO and the U.S. 'vast sums of money'

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States 'vast sums' of money for defence.

'There is no debt account at NATO,' von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 per cent of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to NATO.

'Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,' von der Leyen said.

She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a 'modern security concept' that included a modern NATO but also a European defence union and investment in the United Nations.

Trump said on Twitter on Saturday - a day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington - that Germany 'owes vast sums of money to NATO; the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!'

Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO's defence spending target.
German defence spending is set to rise by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018 - a figure that is projected to represent 1.26 per cent of economic output, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.

In 2016, Germany's defence spending ratio stood at 1.18 per cent.

During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany's commitment to the 2 per cent military spending goal.
The two sat awkwardly in the Oval Office earlier while photographers snapped photos.

When Merkel asked for a handshake, Trump looked directly ahead and did not take the opportunity, missing the gesture of friendship, perhaps, as cameras loudly flashed.

But Trump offered warm words for Merkel at the end of his remarks. 'I want to thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have you in the White House,' he said. 'It’s a great honor to have you in the United States, and I look forward to spending time with you,' Trump said.


Germany rejects Trump claim it owes Nato and US 'vast sums' for defence

The German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, on Sunday rejected Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes Nato and the US “vast sums” of money for defence.

“There is no debt account at Nato,” Von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2% of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to Nato.

“Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against [Isis] terrorism,” Von der Leyen said.

Trump, who was spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, said on Twitter on Saturday – a day after meeting the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Washington – that Germany “owes vast sums of money to Nato & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

His words prompted criticism, also published on Twitter, from a former permanent representative to Nato under President Obama.

Ivo Daalder, permanent representative from 2009 to 2013, wrote: “Sorry, Mr President, that’s not how Nato works. The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending Nato. This is not a financial transaction, where Nato countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment.

Trump has urged Germany and other Nato members to accelerate efforts to meet Nato’s defence spending target.

Von der Leyen said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern Nato but also a European defence union and investment in the United Nations.

German defence spending is set to rise by €1.4bn ($1.5bn) to €38.5bn ($41.4bn) in 2018 – a figure that is projected to represent 1.26% of economic output, the finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has said. In 2016, Germany’s defence spending ratio stood at 1.18%.

During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2% military spending goal.

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