Germany does not owe the US and NATO “vast sums of money,” as the alliance has no “debt account,” the German defense minister said regarding Donald Trump’s claims voiced on his Twitter after a tight-lipped meeting with Angela Merkel.
“There is no debt account at NATO,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
According to von der Leyen, it is wrong to link Germany’s defense expenditure only to NATO, as its military spending also goes to UN peacekeeping missions, European-run operations, as well as Berlin’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
“All we want is a fair burden-sharing, and this requires a modern security concept which will include a modern NATO, but also a European defense union as well as investments into the United Nations,” the minister added.
This comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first face-to-face meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House. Though both leaders opted for a conciliatory tone, differences in their policy priorities and style apparently haunted the discussions.
Shortly afterwards, Trump expressed “strong support” for NATO, but reiterated his claim that member states do not contribute the required share. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States,” he said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”