News reports suggest that President Donald Trump gave a staff-generated bill of approximately £300 billion to Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, for NATO defenses. He handed over the bill to Merkel earlier in March when she had visited Washington D.C.
The invoice highlights the unpaid contributions of Germany towards defense. In 2014, NATO nations had promised to contribute 2 percent of their country’s GDP to defense. But only a few nations, including Greece, the UK, Estonia and Poland currently do so.
Reports suggest that Trump gave instructions to his aides with regards to calculating the amount that fell short in Germany’s contribution to defense in the last 12 years and also add interest. The estimate came out to be around £250 billion plus an additional tax of £50 billion, thus generating a gross £300 billion figure.
Trump denied any unpleasantness in his meeting with the German chancellor despite ‘fake’ news.
No Debt Account
Responding to Trump’s claims, Ursula Von der Leyen, German defense minister, rejected the idea of the country owing any amount to America or NATO. She further added that UN peacemaking missions and European missions also require defense expenditure. In addition to this, a significant amount of funds also go into fighting against terrorism.
Ivo Daalder, U.S. Permanent Representative supported Leyen’s comments, who questioned the President’s comprehension of the global organization. In fact, he tweeted that this wasn’t a financial transaction wherein the NATO member nations had to pay American for defending them. It was a component of the treaty commitment.
At the time of his presidential campaign, Trump had stood against the NATO group of countries and called all members to up their defense expenditure in support of the organization.
Trump trying to Intimidate Member Nations
According to a German minister, the idea behind forwarding such demands is clear: it is aimed at intimidating the other country. However, the chancellor was calm in her reaction to the provocation and made no attempt to respond.
Trump tweeted that Germany owed a large sum of money to the United States and to NATO and that the U.S. needs to be paid a higher sum for the highly expensive and powerful defense services it offers to Germany. The reports around the provocation were disputed by the White House on Sunday and it said that the story was false.