NATO’s ‘Two Percent Is Not Fetish’: Merkel Hints at Larger Defense Budget

Ahead of the German Parliament’s debates on military spending, Angela Merkel has said that raising funds up to NATO’s required 2 percent of GDP is “not beyond the imagination.” Germany’s failure to meet the demand has been an apple of discord between Berlin and other alliance members, foremost Washington.

Speaking to top army officers, the head of the German government has promised significantly higher military spending in the next few years. She pointed out that NATO’s requirements, pushed by Germany’s allies, to spend 2 percent on defense wasn’t “completely beyond the imagination.” At a gather she last attended six years ago, Merkel said that this was about the credibility of Germany. She also addressed the concerns of those who oppose higher military spending and their narrative suggesting that progressing towards the 2 percent target could lead to the militarization of Germany.” According to the chancellor this is an issue of necessity.

“The people with proper expertise… of course know that this 2 percent is not some kind of fetish that has nothing to do with our Bundeswehr. Rather, they know that such a sum is necessary to meet our international tasks and to provide domestic defense,” said Merkel, cited by the AP news agency.

She stressed that the world is becoming more uncertain, complicated by an unclear balance of power. Merkel recalled that the German government earlier provided 2.3 percent of its GDP (gross domestic…

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