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Merkel Agrees to Boost German Military Spending Amid Trump's Pressure

© AP Photo / Mindaugas KulbisGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech during a meeting with German Bundeswehr soldiers of the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion at the Rukla military base
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech during a meeting with German Bundeswehr soldiers of the NATO enhanced forward presence battalion at the Rukla military base - Sputnik International
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Last year, US President Donald Trump pressured other NATO members to pump up their military spending to a voluntary goal of 2% GDP set in 2014, arguing that the US is bearing the brunt of the burden in the alliance, while others underperform.

Addressing the country's military on Bundeswehr Day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that Berlin will boost its defence spending next year in line with a gradual increase that has been taking place recently.

"It's good that we have been increasing the Bundeswehr's budget for years for the sake of our security and we will continue to do so next year", she said.

The chancellor added that the budget increase will allow the military to acquire more modern equipment to be able to cope with new challenges and tasks both domestically and abroad. Merkel however didn't specify how much the Bundeswehr's budget will increase in 2020.

Her statement comes after heated debates on defence spending rocked the NATO alliance with US President Donald Trump specifically slamming Germany in 2018 for spending money "on Russian gas" instead of spending it on the military to protect itself from an alleged Russian threat. He renewed his criticism in 2019 stating that Germany "is not paying their fair share".

© AP Photo / Matthias SchraderGerman Bundeswehr soldiers of the 122th Infantry Battalion take part in a farewell ceremony in Oberviechtach, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
Merkel Agrees to Boost German Military Spending Amid Trump's Pressure  - Sputnik International
German Bundeswehr soldiers of the 122th Infantry Battalion take part in a farewell ceremony in Oberviechtach, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

Germany previously announced plans to increase military spending up to 1.35% in 2019 although falling short of fulfilling a promise of 2% of GDP. The country hopes to boost the number up to 1.5% by 2023, disregarding Trump's demands to do it "now".

Trump has also argued that all but 5 alliance members are not in compliance with the voluntary 2% goal on defence, while the US covers the lion’s share of NATO's defence forces. He reportedly threatened to pull the US out of NATO if the situation doesn't change.

He managed to convince most of NATO’s members to boost their military spending after an emergency alliance session in July 2018, although some of them noted that reaching the 2% GDP goal would take some time.

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