President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. image courtesy :Toronto Star

Germany has rejected President Donald Trump’s claim that the country owes NATO large sums for under spending on defence.

One day after Trump returned to his favourite medium to slam Germany for abusing NATO’s funding scheme, and US defence spending generosity, accusing Germany of owing “vast sums” of money to both NATO and the US, Germany has struck back.

Trump tweeted on Saturday morning,”Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defence it provides to Germany.”

Image result for image of German Defense minister Ursula von der Leyen

German Defense minister Ursula von der Leyen

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has rejected US President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums”of money for defence.

“There is no debt account at NATO,” Ms von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 per cent of their economic output on defence by 2024 solely to NATO.

“Defence spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” Ms von der Leyen said.

She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defence union and investment in the United Nations.

Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defence spending target.

German defence spending is set to rise by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018 – a figure that is projected to represent 1.26 percent of economic output, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said.

In 2016, Germany’s defense spending ratio stood at 1.18 percent.

During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.

Germany is among members countries that have come up short,which may be Trump’s point, but made simplistically,and it has announced its commitment will go up from 1.16% of GDP in 2016 to 1.26% in 2017.