The Hill, By John Bowden, 6 May 2017
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing back at President Trump’s demands that Germany meet NATO’s target of spending two percent of gross domestic product on defense.
According to Bloomberg, Merkel said Friday that Germany would continue to count foreign aid towards the two percent target, despite the Trump administration’s insistence that aid not be counted.
“As much as the U.S. government demands meeting NATO’s 2 percent defense spending goal by 2024, we will stand just as much by our 0.7 percent spending on development aid,” Merkel said in her remarks.
Trump has hit Germany repeatedly for not meeting NATO’s spending targets.
In March, Trump sent out several tweets about a meeting with Merkel. He accused Germany of owing “vast sums of money” to NATO.
“The United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”, Trump tweeted.
But Merkel defended her country’s spending priorities, saying she favors aid as much as defense.
“Germany has always made clear that diplomacy and development aid have to be deployed in addition to defense expenditures,” Merkel said.
“So I want to make it very clear, Germany stands by what we call our comprehensive approach, which is not confined to military deployments.”