Ahead of a NATO Summit on Wednesday, NAT0’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Bild am Sonntag that German defence expenditure should expand to at least 1,5% by 2024.
Germany currently spends 1,24% of its GDP on defence.
The 2014 commitment of NATO member states is that they will spend at least 2% of their GDP; Berlin has resisted a mass expansion of defence expenditure despite pressure from Washington.
To date, only five NATO member state abide by the 2% expenditure commitment: Greece, Poland, the UK, France and Turkey. The Baltic States have also seen their expenditure surge near the 2% threshold. However, Spain and Belgium spend under 1% of their national GDP.
The USA spends more than 3% of its GDP on defence, committing thousands of troops in Europe, including Germany. Troop withdrawals from Europe, a refusal to take part in joint NATO exercises and a significant policy change in Ukraine are only some of the measures Washington could take in retaliation to Germany’s refusal to abide by NATO spending commitments.
US troops are currently stationed in Germany, Poland and the Baltic States. In Germany alone, the US commits 35,000 troops.
President Donald Trump is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, July 16, four days after the NATO summit. Diplomats fear that Washington could use the meeting to add pressure on Germany.