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Germany informs NATO of largest increase in defense spending in decades

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 18, 2019
The German government informed NATO that it would increase defense expenditures this year by more than 5 billion euros (5.6 billion U.S. dollars) compared to 2018, the German press agency (dpa) first reported on Friday.
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Europe   German army
The German government was expecting total defense expenditures to reach 47.32 billion euros, a spokesperson for the German Ministry of Defense confirmed to Xinhua on Friday.

Corresponding to a 1.35 percent share of Germany's gross domestic product (GDP), the planned increase in defense spending was based on the country's 2019 budget and current benchmark figures, according to the defense ministry spokesperson.

Official figures indicated that the increased defense spending would be the largest growth in decades.

The proposed military budget, however, would still be below the 2 percent NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) target. At the 2014 summit, NATO members had agreed to gradually raise their national defense budgets to 2 percent of GDP within a decade.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly singled out Germany for its insufficient defense spending. At last year's NATO summit, Trump even threatened to leave the defense alliance if its members did not reach the agreed target soon.

The German government has consistently responded that NATO members have until 2024 to reach the spending target.