Peter Beyer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative CDU/CSU bloc, has lashed out at Washington’s recent decision to withdraw thousands of US troops from Germany.
"This is completely unacceptable, especially since nobody in Washington thought about informing its NATO ally Germany in advance”, Beyer, who is also Berlin’s coordinator for transatlantic ties, told the newspaper Rheinische Post on Monday.
He spoke after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas regretted the planned pullout of US forces from his country, noting in an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that the Berlin-Washington relationship remains “complicated”.
CDU/CSU member Johann Wadephul, for his part, told Bloomberg that Washington’s plans “demonstrate once again that the Trump administration neglects a central element of leadership: the involvement of alliance partners in the decision-making process”.
He was echoed by Norbert Roettgen, head of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, who said in an interview with the Funke Media Group that the White House’s move “would be regrettable in every way” and that he cannot see “any rational reason for the withdrawal”.
The remarks followed The Wall Street Journal citing unnamed US government officials as saying on Friday that President Donald Trump had directed the Department of Defence to withdraw about 9,500 American troops from Germany by September.
The sources added that POTUS also ordered to reduce the total number of US troops that may be stationed in Germany at any one time from 52,000 to 25,000.
The decision comes as Washington and Berlin remain at loggerheads over a whole array of sensitive issues pertaining to trade, Iran, and NATO-related military spending.
In April 2019, Trump berated Germany for “not paying their fair share” as far as the North Atlantic alliance is concerned.
“I have a great feeling for Germany, but they're not paying what they should be paying. We're paying for a big proportion of NATO, which is basically protecting Europe. They’re paying close to 1 percent”, Trump earlier argued during talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House.