Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament in Berlin on Wednesday that it was time for Germany to assume more responsibility and be a more active member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
“The preservation of NATO is in our own interest, even more so than during the cold war,” Merkel said. She added that "at the moment, Europe is unable to defend itself" without the military alliance.
Merkel announced that Germany would increase its financial contribution to its defence to NATO’s required 2% of the country’s GDP by “the early 2030s.” It will first raise it to 1.42% in 2020, then to 1.5% by 2024.
That extended time frame for Germany to get to 2% may not please US president Donald Trump, who has been badgering Germany to increase its defence spending since he took office. Trump maintains that the US pays too much towards NATO and has said European member countries need to invest more into their own defence.
Currently only seven NATO members are meeting the requested target of spending 2% of their national GDP on defence—Britain is one of them.
Merkel's statements come days ahead of NATO’s 70th anniversary summit in London. She called the alliance “a bulwark of peace and freedom,” a message of support that contrast with Emmanuel Macron’s recent harsh words about the state of NATO.
"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO," Macron said in an interview with the Economist earlier this month.
The New York Times reported at the weekend that Merkel had scolded Macron during a dinner over his provocative comments. Merkel’s spokesman denied the report, telling reporters in Berlin on Monday that there had been “neither complaint, nor anger, nor strife” between the chancellor and Macron at the event.