Terror response Amid Terror, Germany Weighs Upping Defense Spending

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a major policy change, has asked parliament to raise defense spending. Such a move would thrill NATO, but ignite a vigorous debate over the country's post-war pacifist profile.
  • Franziska Scheven
Quelle: dpa
soldaten bundeswehr_Maurizio Gambarini_dpa

After decades of adhering to a post-war pacifist role, Germany may be poised to significantly boost military defense spending in the wake of political instability on Europe’s periphery and global terror attacks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday asked the defense committee of the Bundestag, the lower house of German parliament, to consider raising the amount of money the country spends on defense, which has historically been about half of what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization recommends.

Rainer Arnold, a Social Democrat and member of the defense committee, said Ms. Merkel asked the group to consider making “an appropriate” increase in defense spending, which this year is planned to be €34 billion ($37 billion), up from €32.8 billion last year. Ms. Merkel was “wonderfully inexact” in the amount of the increase, Mr. Arnold said in an interview with Handelsblatt Global Edition.

“Ms. Merkel basically said that we should contribute appropriately more to NATO especially in the light of our strong economic performance and in response to pressure from our American partners,” Mr. Arnold said.

In 2014, the United States spent around 4 percent of GDP, or €560 billion, in defense for NATO, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Germany, by comparison, contributed about 1 percent of spending to defense, or €35 billion.

Both countries are members of NATO.

“We must make a reasonable, significant contribution so that others — on the other side of the Atlantic — can be ready to engage,” Ms. Merkel told the committee, according to Bild, the popular German tabloid newspaper.

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