Miércoles, 16 Agosto, 2017

German Defense Minister Refutes Trump's Claim About Germany's Debts to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference after the official welcome ceremony for the arrival of first troops of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battalion battle group in Rukla Lithuania on February 7, 2017 German Defense Minister Refutes Trump's Claim About Germany's Debts to NATO AFP 2017 Petras Malukas
Manuel Armenta | 20 Marcha, 2017, 22:04

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected US President Donald Trump's claim that Berlin owes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation "vast sums of money" and must pay Washington more for defense. It's not as if every year a nation misses the target, the shortfall is added to some debt ledger somewhere.

"There is no debt account at NATO", German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Sunday, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 exclusively to NATO.

Spending 2 percent of GDP on defense would mean doubling Germany's defense budget, and "I don't know who can imagine that something like that is possible", Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a congress of his Social Democrats on Sunday. "But it is a process, and it is a process that the United States of America wanted. and we can not simply cast off this process from one day to the next".

Neither leader named the US government as they opened the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, but both used the opportunity to distance themselves from protectionist tendencies coming from the Trump administration.

The tweet came a day after Trump's first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a visit he described in another Saturday tweet as "great".

Now, it appears, Germany has had enough of Trump's shenanigans.

Trump has not been the only American official to be critical of Germany and other European allies.

Even a tweet from Mr Trump criticising China the night before Mr Tillerson landed in Beijing did not, at least in public, create any discord.

He added that "the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"

Italy and Spain, two of Europe's larger economies, spend barely 1 percent a year on defense, as they try to control their budget deficits in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

"America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense", he said last month.