Germany Rejects Trump’s Claim It Owes NATO and US ‘Vast Sums’ for Defense Reuters: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump‘s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense.

There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.

Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said.

She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

From Jacopo Barigazzi, Politico Europe: Since the start of his campaign, Trump has urged Berlin and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet a 2 percent defense spending target. After his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, Trump tweeted that Berlin “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

During the White House meeting, Merkel pledged to continue to increase Germany’s defense budget and reaffirmed her country’s commitment to the 2 percent goal by 2024.

Image: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Feb. 10, 2017 (photo: Sgt. Jette Carr/ Department of Defense).