According to the German industry association (BDI), Berlin spends 1,13% of its GDP on defence; that is just over half Berlin’s obligations towards NATO allies.
Germany has clearly “fallen short” of its obligations, BDI defense analyst Matthias Wachter told the public broadcaster DW.
NATO allies have committed to a 2% expenditure of their GDP. The strength of the German economy raises the bar of expectations for German defence spending, according to the BNI. Currently, Berlin spends €37bn on defence. Raising expenditure by €5bn, as planned, will maintain GDP ratio at present levels.
The defence expenditure analysis comes as President Donald Trump calls into question the alliance due to the failure of NATO allies to pay their share for European defence. The US contributes 70% of the NATO budget.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Martin Schultz, has claimed that Germany should have different public expenditure priorities for defence. His views echo those of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who has called on Europe to resist paying 2% on defence.
Given a recent agreement in Germany to begin negotiations for another big coalition, doubling defence spending would be politically out of the question. And Washington’s leverage in Berlin does no longer appear sufficient to change this equation.