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NATO Secretary General in Berlin

"A strong commitment"

Germany will increase its defence spending to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2024. This was confirmed by Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. The meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg focused mainly on preparation for the NATO summit of heads of state and government on 11 and 12 July in Brussels.

Chancellor Merkel meets Secretary General Stoltenberg in the Chancellery Chancellor Merkel held discussions with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels. Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins

The NATO alliance must continually adjust to new security challenges, the Chancellor said after the meeting. The orientation of NATO has changed significantly after the annexation of Crimea and the attack on Eastern Ukraine. "Whilst the focus was previously on missions, now the national and alliance defence has once again come to the fore," declared the Chancellor.

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Defence spending to be increased

"Germany makes a very strong contribution to the activities of NATO ," said Merkel. For example in Eastern Europe, where NATO has been present for some time. Germany leads a battlegroup in Lithuania. The Bundeswehr is also involved in numerous NATO missions, such as in Afghanistan.

In order to meet the requirements, the federal government will increase funding for equipping the armed forces. "Sometimes this still seems too slow, but things are moving in the right direction," said the Chancellor. "For 2024, we have pledged 1.5 percent of gross domestic product to defence expenditure, and thus also made a strong commitment."

Stoltenberg praises German contribution to NATO

The NATO Secretary General emphasised that Germany makes a significant contribution to the alliance, and as "an important NATO ally is very much appreciated".

At the summit of the NATO heads of state and government, the focus will not only be on the defence expenditure of the member states, said Stoltenberg. The agenda will also include the relationship with Russia, and the fight against international terrorism. Further topics include a new stabilisation mission in Iraq, and the continued efforts in Afghanistan.

Jun 15, 2018