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Germany on collision course with US ahead of Nato summit

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Germany on collision course with US ahead of Nato summit
Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA
17:12 CEST+02:00
Germany Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel isn't mincing his words. The pugnacious politician has called a Nato defence spending target being pushed by the US “completely unrealistic” for Germany.

“I consider it completely unrealistic to think that Germany will achieve a defence budget of over €70 million per year,” said Gabriel on Friday.

“I don't know of a single German politician who believes that is either achievable or desirable,” he added.

At a Nato summit in Wales in 2014 Nato members committed to working towards a goal of 2 percent of each state's GDP being spent on their military by 2024.

Currently only five member states fulfill this target.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called upon other members of Nato to up their military spending since coming to power in January, after previously calling the alliance obsolete. 
 
According to a report in The Times this week, Trump even recently handed Chancellor Angela Merkel a “bill” for €340 billion for the US contribution to the military alliance - an amount higher than the total federal tax intake in Germany in a single year.
 
Merkel's spokesman Steffan Seibert denied the report on Monday.
 
Nato heads of state are meeting at the end of May in Brussels, with the US reportedly planning for the 2 percent target to be agreed upon as a fixed amount which all states will have to meet.

But Gabriel said that no other country could demand of Germany that it spends 2 percent of GDP on its its military.

The Social Democrat Foreign Minister further claimed that no such 2 percent goal had been agreed upon in Wales. Nato members had only agreed to work towards this goal, he insisted.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen stuck a more emollient tone though.

“Should agreements that count for every other Nato partner not count for us?” she asked on Friday. “That sounds like Germany going its own way.”

“The others are making efforts for the coalition, we're holding back - that's not how an alliance works,” the Christian Democratic (CDU) politician said.

SEE ALSO: Is the German military capable of defending Europe?

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