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    A German soldier from the NATO coalition stands guard during a visit by resolute support spokesman Brigadier General H. Cleveland outside the Shaheen 209th military corps training center in Mazar-i-Sharif on April 26, 2016

    German Politicians See 2% of GDP Defense Spending as Impossible, Undesirable

    © AFP 2019 / WAKIL KOHSAR
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    German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Friday he knows of no politicians in his country that see defense spending go up to 2 percent of GDP as either possible or desirable.

    BRUSSELS, March 31 (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that summit in May planned to decide on so-called national plans to increase defense spending by its member states.

    "Two percent would mean that Germany would send 70 billion euros a year to the army," Gabriel told reporters in Brussels. "I do not know politicians in Germany who would believe that an increase in defense spending to 2 percent of GDP would be possible or desirable."

    On March 18, US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that Germany owed "vast sums of money" to NATO. On March 24, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen criticized the US leader for his remark, emphasizing that "there is no debt account in the Alliance."

    The issue of the contributions to the alliance has been raised repeatedly by the new US administration, insisting on all countries honoring their NATO budget responsibilities.

    The target of spending 2 percent of the GDP mandated by NATO was adopted at the alliance's September 2014 Summit in Wales, with only five countries, including the United States, meeting the required standard, according to NATO figures.

    Only five countries — Estonia, Greece, Poland, the United States and the United Kingdom — currently meet the standard, while Germany's defense spending of 37 billion ($39.5 billion) in 2017 will be 1.2% percent of GDP.

    spending, GDP, defense, NATO, Sigmar Gabriel, Germany
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