Germany will miss its self-declared target for defence spending of 1,5% of GDP, which in itself is well below the official NATO 2% target, the Financial Times reported on 18 March.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel notified NATO last year that it will raise the German military budget to 1.5% of GDP by 2024. That reduced target was, however, called into question by the Social Democrat finance minister Olaf Scholz, who is questioning whether Germany should commit to increased military spending.
Scholz is due to present his framework budget for the 2020-2023 period to the cabinet on 20 March. In his budget defence expenditure is projected to rise from 1,25% of GDP in 2019 to 1.37% in 2020, dropping to 1,25% by 2023.
Scholz’s budget proposal comes ahead of a NATO summit in Washington to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary. NATO estimates suggest Germany currently spends 1.23% of its GDP on defence, well below the 2% target accepted by the other members.
Ahead of European elections in May and four regional elections throughout 2019, defence spending is becoming a major point of friction between coalition partners in Germany, that is, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD). SPD appears open to a new round of confrontation with Washington over defence spending, underscoring its political