Germany pledges more for under-pressure NATO ahead of summit

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Germany said Monday it would raise its NATO spending to more than 50 billion euros ($55.3 billion) in 2020, days before leaders meet in London for the 70th anniversary of the transatlantic partnership.

“For 2019, we have a NATO defense spending of 47.9 billion,” equivalent to 1.39 percent of output, said a defense ministry spokesman.

“For next year, this spending will be at 50.3 billion, or 1.42 percent” of gross domestic product, he added.

The new estimates were above the 1.37 percent predicted in March for 2020, but still fall short of the two percent goal set by the alliance in 2014.

Germany has been repeatedly singled out by US President Donald Trump for failing to meet the target.

Its latest commitment to increase spending also came amid sharp divisions with the bloc, after France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the alliance was suffering from “brain death.”

In an interview with The Economist, Macron decried a lack of coordination between Europe and the US and lamented recent unilateral action in Syria by Turkey, a key member of the military alliance.

His comments were immediately slapped down by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the “sweeping judgements” unnecessary.

In an interview published on Sunday, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also underlined growing differences between the two European giants over NATO.

“The French aim for more European cooperation in order to replace NATO. I prefer to speak of “A2A”, or “ability to act,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told Die Welt daily.

“For me it’s about everything that strengthens European defense strengthening the European pillar of NATO at the same time.”

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