“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.
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.