Germany must up defence spending as in cold war days, Nato head says
BERLIN - Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stepped up pressure on Germany to increase its defence spending in the face of Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, reported dpa news agency.
"During the Cold War, when Konrad Adenauer or Willy Brandt ruled, defence spending was between three per cent and four per cent of economic output," Stoltenberg said, in a translation of an interview published in Germany's Funke Mediengruppe newspapers at the weekend.
In his native Norway, he said, it was similar. "We managed it then, and we have to manage it again today."
Stoltenberg recalled the decision of the July Nato summit in Vilnius, according to which two per cent of gross domestic product for military spending was "the minimum" - though Berlin continues to fall short of reaching this target.
He said he expected many allies to exceed that target.
As a former prime minister of Norway, he said, he knows how difficult it is to budget more money for defence when higher spending on health, education or infrastructure is also necessary. But if tensions rise, defence spending must be increased, he said.
Germany has "still not reached" the Nato target of investing two per cent of economic output on defence, Stoltenberg stressed, but said the country was "well on its way."
Stoltenberg was quoted as saying that it makes "a huge difference" as to whether a country like Germany "sticks to this target or not." - BERNAMA-dpa