Germany rejects Trump’s latest claim

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On Saturday, President Donald Trump’s tweet about Germany owing NATO and the United States “vast sums” of defense funding was challenged by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

The defense minister claimed correlating the general rule for members to spend 2% of their economic output on defense solely to NATO by 2024 was wrong on Trump’s end.

“There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement. “Defense spending goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions, and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism.”

According to Reuters, she said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

Trump’s comment came one day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington when he tweeted the claim on Saturday:

“[Germany] owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

The president also encouraged Germany to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defense spending target, which is set to rise by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018, according to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. In 2016, the defense spending ratio for Germany stood at 1.18 percent.

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