NATO summit in Brussels
"Together we are stronger"
Following the summit in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the need for a very fundamental discussion. "Speaking for Germany, I made it clear that we must do more and that we have been doing more in recent times – the trend has already been reversed."
NATO member states intend to gradually raise their defence budgets by 2024 towards the mark of two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). They affirmed this in a summit declaration. Germany is investing strongly in equipment, said Angela Merkel. It is doing so for the troops but also for the alliance, in the face of a changed security situation.
Strengthening deterrence and defence
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared that the joint resolutions will strengthen the alliance in the fight against international terrorism.
Important decisions had been taken regarding the NATO command structure, he reported.
Two new headquarters are to be established, one in Norfolk, USA and one in the German city of Ulm. More than 1,200 new staff members are to work there. The command structure is to be expanded to embrace a new cyber operations centre. NATO experts are ready to support cyber defence efforts of member states.
The member states also decided to launch a new training mission in Iraq.
Angela Merkel reported that the summit had reaffirmed and extended its support for Jordan and Tunisia, as well as continuing its "open door policy" vis à vis Macedonia. The resolution of the dispute over the name of the country has removed a major obstacle to Macedonia’s admission to NATO.
Higher defence spending
The Chancellor explained that German defence spending is to rise year by year after a period of strong cuts. By 2024 Germany will be spending 80 per cent more on defence than it did in 2014. Germany is an important part of the military alliance, she declared.
At the Wales summit in 2014, NATO member states agreed to gradually increase their defence spending up to 2024, towards the equivalent of two per cent of their GDP. They reaffirmed their commitment to this goal in the Brussels summit declaration. "We are committed to the resolutions adopted in Wales," said Angela Merkel.
Relations with Russia
During a bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump, relations with Russia were discussed. Angela Merkel underscored the "common line" with the United States of America, and again condemned the annexation of Crimea.
With a view to Donald Trump’s meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Chancellor stressed that it would be a "very good sign for everyone" if they also discussed nuclear disarmament.