US President Donald Trump on Thursday again criticized German defense spending, warning that NATO members that fail to meet their commitments to the alliance would be "dealt with."
“[Germany] has not contributed what it should be contributing and it's a very big beneficiary," Trump said when meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington.
He added that Germany “must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions.”
Donald Trump praised seven other alliance members for paying the amount "they're supposed to be paying."
In 2014, NATO agreed that all 29 members would spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense by 2024.
Last year, Germany spent 1.2 percent of GDP on defense and this year’s budget envisions 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP going to the military.
Even though Chancellor Angela Merkel agrees with the need to bring the country’s outlays on defense to the required 2 percent of GDP, her coalition partner, the Social Democrats, come out against any defense spending hikes.
Germany has for years struggled to modernize its military as it becomes more involved in NATO operations. Its military faces numerous problems that have raised serious questions about its capabilities and readiness.
Funding issues have been highly embarrassing. In 2014, it was revealed that tank commanders had covered up their lack of machine guns by using broomsticks painted black during a NATO drill.