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German Finance Minister Vows to Spend More Money on EU Defense Amid US Ultimatum

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More money should be spend on EU defense, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said Friday at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, adding that Germany was ready to increase its spending on this sphere.

MUNICH (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis threatened to cut US defense commitments unless all NATO members met the spending target. New US President Donald Trump criticized the alliance on numerous occasions during his election campaign, calling it obsolete and vowing to make all members pay their fair share.

"In regards defense union, we have to spend more money for this… and we are decided to do so in the German government," Schauble said, adding that Berlin was sticking to its obligations and commitments.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, front left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, front left, stand with other NATO defense ministers during a group photo at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. - Sputnik International
NATO Chief Downplays Pentagon's Head 2% Defense Spending Ultimatum
Only a handful of NATO members have reached the 2-percent target as of 2016. The United States is the top spender, allocating over 3.6 percent of its GDP on defense, followed by Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Poland. The remaining 23 members are below target.

NATO's overall European defense spending fell at rates of around 2 percent per year until the 2014 Wales summit. In 2015, spending increased 0.6 percent before surging 3 percent in 2016, according to official NATO data.

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