Prior to President Donald Trump’s trip to Europe, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Friday, aug. 9, criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her reduced efforts to allocate 2% of its gross domestic product to defense, as agreed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s military alliance.
According to Reuters, the U.S. official told the dpa news agency, “It is offensive to assume that the U.S. taxpayers continue to pay for more than 50,000 Americans in Germany but the Germans get to spend their (budget) surplus on domestic programs.”
The ambassador also pointed out that such an attitude on the part of Germany could only lead to the transfer of US troops stationed in that country in the direction of Poland.
According to Reuters, Germany’s fiscal plans foresee the defense budget rising to 1.37% of output next year before falling to 1.24% in 2023.
As Reuters points out, Germany, NATO’s second-largest member, was urged by Eastern European countries such as Poland and Latvia to match the percentage of surplus spending as agreed with NATO as they have done.
U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher stated on Twitter: ” Poland meets its 2% of GDP spending obligation toward NATO. Germany does not. We would welcome American troops in Germany to come to Poland,” Reuters reported.
The United States has more than 33,000 troops in Germany and has 17,000 additional U.S. civilian support employees, according to Reuters.
Ambassador Grenell agreed with President Trump and the U.S. ambassador in his statements with the dpa agency and recalled that several presidents have previously reminded Europe’s largest economy to pay for its own defense.
According to Reuters, President Trump is about to travel to France to participate in the G-7 summit, where Iran will be a relevant topic to discuss. The U.S. president will also travel to Poland and Denmark.