NATOSource|Daily News of the World's Most Powerful Alliance

July 4, 2018
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, June 28, 2017 (photo: Sgt. Jette Carr/Department of Defense)
Germany’s defence minister has dismissed US accusations that her country is not spending enough on its military, saying Berlin was pushing through substantial rises to the defence budget and was already supplying more troops to the western alliance than any nation bar the US....

Ursula von der Leyen was speaking ahead of next week’s Nato summit, which is widely expected to feature blunt attacks from US president Donald Trump on Germany and other countries whose defence budgets fall below 2 per cent of GDP....

Ms von der Leyen said Germany remained committed to the goal, but insisted that Berlin’s contribution to the alliance should not be judged on its budget alone.

“You can easily spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence without actually offering anything to Nato,” she said in Berlin on Tuesday evening. “The question for Nato is not just how much you spend nationally on defence, but how much does the country provide in terms of contributions that Nato needs.”

Nato, she said, was not just about “cash” — but also about “capabilities” and “contributions....”

The minister also pointed to the prominent role of the German Bundeswehr in Nato’s push to bolster the security of member states in eastern Europe.

“To be clear: we stand by the 2 per cent goal that we set ourselves in Wales. We are on the way to meeting it. And we are ready, and have shown that we are ready, to take on substantial responsibilities inside the alliance,” the minister said.