By Ayhan Simsek
Chancellor Angela Merkel made no new pledge on Thursday to increase defense spending of Germany, despite a stark warning by the U.S. President Donald Trump.
Speaking to reporters on the second and final day of the NATO summit in Brussels, Merkel stuck to her government’s earlier plan to gradually increase military spending to 1.5 percent of its national output by 2024.
“The American president has demanded what has already been discussed for months, namely a change in burden-sharing,” Merkel told reporters.
“I made it very clear, and also others made it very clear, that we are on this path, this is for our own interest, and it would made us all stronger,” she said.
The U.S. president heavily criticized Germany on Wednesday for not increasing its defense spending, but relying on the U.S. support for its “protection from Russia”.
“All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!,” he said in a tweet he sent during tne NATO summit in Brussels.
Merkel’s coalition partner Social Democratic Party (SPD) had long been critical of plans to increase the country’s defense budget, and disputed NATO’s goal that each member should spend 2 percent of its national output on defense.
The German chancellor said her government was aware of the need to modernize its military with new equipment, but also stressed that she was not interested in a massive rearmament.
The EU’s largest economy Germany is currently spending 1.24 percent of its GDP for defense.