Germany balks at Tillerson call for more European NATO spending

News Hour:

Germany said on Friday that NATO’s agreed target spend of two percent of members’ yearly economic output was neither “reachable nor desirable” countering a call by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for all allies to comply and quickly.

The United States provides nearly 70 percent of NATO’s budget and is demanding that NATO allies make clear progress toward the agreed target this year. Only four European NATO members – Estonia, Greece, Poland and Britain – have done so, reports Reuters.

“Two percent would mean military expenses of some 70 billion euros. I don’t know any German politician who would claim that is reachable nor desirable,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at the first NATO meeting attended by Tillerson.

Tillerson, however, reiterated Washington’s demands and said allies will need to pay up or outline plans for how they plan to meet the threshold when NATO leaders meet on May 25 for the first top-level summit of the alliance. U.S. President Donald Trump will attend that meeting.

“Our goal should be to agree at the May leaders meeting that by the end of the year all allies will have either met the pledge guidelines or will have developed plans that clearly articulate how…the pledge will be fulfilled,” Tillerson said.

“Allies must demonstrate by their actions that they share U.S. governments commitment.”

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