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New German defense minister backs higher military spending

Posted at 4:16 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 07:16:42-04

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s new defense minister is underlining her commitment to long-term military spending targets and says that financing must keep rising in order to meet the country’s needs.

NATO members in 2014 agreed to “aim to move toward” increasing defense spending to 2% of their gross domestic product by 2024, though Germany has already said it doesn’t expect to meet that goal. The U.S. has criticized Berlin’s spending.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who also leads Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, told lawmakers after being sworn in as defense minister Wednesday that she’s committed to the 2% target and Germany must reach 1.5% by 2024. She said spending needs to remain on “a reliable constantly growing path.”

The junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, the Social Democrats, question the 2% target.