Germany wants change to NATO two-percent budget goal: Germany's defence minister called Friday for changes to the way NATO members' commitments to budget targets are assessed, in the face of bigger demands from US President Donald Trump.
Just ahead of the first face-to-face talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump, the minister, Ursula von der Leyen, told AFP that the NATO target of spending two percent of GDP on defence painted an incomplete picture of actual contributions.
"For me the question is who is really providing added value to the alliance," she said.
Von der Leyen proposed using an "activity index" that would take participation in foreign missions into account when assessing budget earmarks for defence.
Von der Leyen acknowledged that the German military "urgently needs a modernisation drive" and that boosting military spending was "simply a matter of fairness in the alliance".
"Germany has a strong economy. None of our partners would understand it if we didn't manage to do our part while poorer countries have to tighten their belts to meet the target."However she said member states that take part in NATO operations and exercises or contribute personnel and hardware should get credit towards their two-percent goal.Von der Leyen insisted that Germany was also putting its money where its mouth is, with a 3.9-percent increase in defence spending already set out in the 2018 federal budget."That means we are growing twice as fast as the total budget. I am grateful for that," said von der Leyen, who belongs to Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.
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