Brussels (Brussels Morning) Germany reported defence spending of 51.4 billion euro last year and announced it would up the figure to 53 billion this year, inching closer to the NATO-set goal of 2% of GDP, DW reported on Sunday.
While the increase is more than 3% higher on the annual level, it still falls short of the NATO target.
Former US President Donald Trump had criticised Germany and other NATO members for failing to show sufficient support to NATO. Germany and other countries had hoped that an increase in spending will ease the trans-Atlantic burden-sharing dispute.
In 2018, Trump warned that the US might withdraw from the organisation should partners not meet the goal of spending at least 2% of their respective GDPs on defence.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is on record saying that he expected President Joe Biden to exert pressure on the issue as well. He pointed out that “all US presidents over the past decades have advocated more defence spending by Europe’s NATO partners.”
Stoltenberg said that Biden looks to improve ties with NATO. Biden called on European NATO partners to boost defence spending before his election and earlier this month announced a freeze on redeployment of US troops from Germany.
Germany’s defence spending stood at some 1.57% of GDP in 2020, up from 1.36% in 2019.
Germany and other NATO members cannot reach the 2% of GDP target on defence spending on time, according to Der Spiegel. The paper points out that, according to an analysis for 2022, armed forces are chronically underfunded.
Stoltenberg stressed the importance of maintaining defence spending throughout the coronavirus pandemic and increasing it where possible. “All of this has created a new security environment”, he said, which means “investment in our security continues to be necessary.”