Merkel 'Undoubtedly' Pledges to Work on Reaching 2% Defense Spending Target
17:52 15.06.2018(updated 18:38 15.06.2018)
BERLIN (Sputnik) - Germany will definitely be taking action to reach the target of spending 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense in line with the standards of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.
"In the coming 10 years, we should increase our defense budget toward the 2-percent target. We will undoubtedly do this," Merkel said during a joint press briefing with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The German chancellor noted, however, that the country was unlikely to reach the 2-percent target during this period.
The German's Chancellor further stated that she expected the steady rise of Germany's military spending in coming years.
"We will achieve another goal, which was also agreed upon by NATO [allies], that 20 percent of [defense] budget should be spent on modernization of military equipment. We will fulfill it," Merkel said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed gratitude to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her country's significant contribution to the alliance following their meeting in Berlin.
The issue of defense spending has been one of the cornerstones in the relations between the United States and its European allies. During his meeting with Merkel in March 2017, US President Donald Trump said Germany owed vast sums of money to the United States for the defense Washington had provided to EU member states, particularly Germany, within the NATO framework.
Angela Merkel said on she expected important decisions to be made during the upcoming summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
"I believe that, despite all the existing disagreements, the summit will be constructive, and important decisions will be made during it," Merkel said during her joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Merkel also emphasized that the alliance should adapt to the new challenges.
According to the NATO statistics issued this March, only Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and the United States met the 2-percent target in 2017. Germany, in its turn, spent 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense in 2017, while the United States' defense spending amounted to 3.57 percent of its GDP.
In May, Stoltenberg said NATO expected eight of its member states to meet the target of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense in 2018.
During the summit in Wales in 2014, NATO member states, which did not meet the 2-percent target, pledged to reach it within a decade.
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