When U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the White House days ago, the press focused on the embarrassing moment Trump refused to shake hands with our European ally. But if that was not embarrassing enough, Trump handed Merkel an astronomical bill for money supposedly owed to NATO, the Sunday Times reported.
The bill handed to Merkel, according to the Times, was for more than $300 billion and it was reportedly calculated by adding the amounts by which Germany have fallen short on annual payments to NATO since 2002 — and adding interest.
The gesture was “outrageous,” the Times quoted a German minister as saying. “The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the minister is further cited as saying.
Each NATO member is meant to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product annually on defense. Germany is increasing military spending, but its is still seen falling well short of the 2-percent goal this year.
Last week, Berlin shot down Trump’s claim that Germany owes “vast sums” to NATO.
“There is no account where debts are registered with NATO,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, questioning how military spending was calculated and arguing that a country’s financial commitment to the military alliance is not the only measure. “Defense spending also goes into U.N. peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against ISIS terrorism,” von der Leyen said.
H/T: The Times.