Germany owes North Atlantic Treaty Organisation 'vast sums'

In brushing off the diplomatic row with perhaps America's closest ally, Mr Trump also revived another - the Obama administration's monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls.

"All Nato countries, including Germany, have committed to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence by 2024".

But Ms von der Leyen said in a statement on Sunday (local time), "There is no debt account at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", and added it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defence by 2024 exclusively to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

He said 81,000 people were employed in German-owned engineering firms in the US with more than $32 billion in total revenue, while German export successes were linked to the high quality of goods, not foreign-exchange effects.

She said Mr Trump selects the journalists he wants to speak to and decides who comes to press briefings but in Germany Ms Merkel has no influence over the media. "But there is no central bank this money goes into, and there is no transaction". Europe must spend more on defense, but not as favor (or payment) to the US.

"The relatively low levels of military spending among USA allies is completely rational", said Christopher Preble, the vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. And as the Washington Post noted last month, Trump has a habit of aggressively yanking the hand - and person - he's engaged in a handshake toward him, making it seem as if he's playing a game of tug-of-war rather than carrying out a common ritual of greeting of agreement.

"For me, the question is who is really providing added value to the alliance", she said. "This is not the case".

Yesterday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the criticism "inaccurate", without mentioning the president's name.

"We have a joint interest in ensuring that the global conditions for continued growth and investment are maintained", Krueger said in a statement after the meeting. But such a move would make little strategic sense for the United States, which relies on its military bases in Germany such as Ramstein for operations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Germany now spends 1.23 percent of its GDP on defense, but it is being increased. It was a story in Breitbart - the far-right website once run by his senior adviser Steve Bannon - that appeared to spark Trump's March 4 tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping the NY skyscraper where he lived and ran his presidential campaign.

We rate this claim False. "It's true that Germany does have a large surplus with us, which has been a focus of this administration, but what she's going to do undoubtedly is talk about how many German companies invest in the United States".

  • Larry Hoffman