Merkel and Stoltenberg reject Macron’s criticism of NATO for Trump’s lack of commitment

Merkel sees “ambitious” but “realistic” that Germany raises defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2031


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have rejected criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron to the Atlantic Alliance, which according to the Gallic president would be “brain dead” for lack of commitment of the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

“What we are currently experiencing is NATO's brain death,” Macron said in an interview with 'The Economist' in which he called on Europe to “wake up” and raised the need to “reevaluate the reality of what is NATO in the light of the United States' commitment, “included with the allied collective defense clause.

Merkel and Stoltenberg reject Macron’s criticism of NATO for Trump’s lack of commitment
Merkel and Stoltenberg reject Macron’s criticism of NATO for Trump’s lack of commitment

The German chancellor has replied to the “drastic” words of the French president and has made it clear that he does not share his criticisms. “I do not share this opinion,” said the German in a joint press conference with the Allied secretary general in Berlin, being asked about the controversial statements of the Gallic president.

“The French president has said quite drastic words. It's not like I see the state of cooperation in NATO. I don't think such a categorical judgment is appropriate,” Merkel stressed, which has made it clear that NATO is in it. ” interest “of the allies. “It's our security alliance,” he has riveted.

Merkel has argued that in recent years there is more work “in the political sense” within the Alliance and, although he has admitted that Europeans must assume their own destiny, he has insisted that the transatlantic relationship “is absolutely indispensable” . “There are many areas in which NATO is working very well,” he said.

The Allied Secretary General has “agreed” with the chancellor and has argued that “the United States is increasing its presence in Europe, with more military, exercises and more infrastructure investments.” “The reality is that we do more together,” he has riveted.

“Any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the Alliance, the transatlantic link, but will divide Europe,” said the Norwegian, who has valued the greatest military reinforcement undertaken in recent years by the allies since the end of the Cold War in response to a “more unpredictable and uncertain” world and initiatives to strengthen European defense in the EU, making it clear, however, that greater unity among Europeans “cannot replace transatlantic unity.”

Stotlenberg has valued the increase in defense spending promoted in recent years by Europeans and Canada, recalling that they will invest an additional $ 100 billion in defense by the end of 2020 but has insisted that all allies must “fulfill” the objective agreed to raise defense spending to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product, a constant requirement of the US Administration.

“The European allies must invest in defense not to please NATO or the United States. They must invest in defense because it is in their own security interest,” said the Norwegian.

Merkel has reiterated his Government's commitment to raise defense spending to 1.5% of GDP by 2024 and has considered it “realistic” although “ambitious” to raise it to 2% by 2031, as proposed by the German Defense head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Regarding the security zone under international control in northeastern Syria proposed by Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German chancellor has argued that it is “a good idea” but has admitted the need to “look at the realities on the ground” and has recognized that after the agreement in Sochi between the Turkish presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russian, Vladimir Putin, the conditions are “different”.

“We are discussing it within the federal government,” he explained. “This must be prepared politically now,” he defended, making it clear that a UN mandate “always” requires the approval of the UN Security Council, while insisting on the importance of maintaining dialogue with Turkey.

Stoltenberg has recognized the “differences” in the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria among the Allies, but has insisted that everyone shares the need to preserve progress in the fight against the Islamic State and prevent it from resurfacing in Iraq or Afghanistan. “We have to continue making every effort we can to support the efforts sponsored by the UN to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria,” he said.

When asked about the new steps that Iran has taken in its commitments under the nuclear agreement, Merkel has acknowledged that with every step that Iran takes “the situation becomes more difficult” to preserve the nuclear agreement, but has made it clear that no A “definitive evaluation” has been reached. “We still have discussions with Iran,” he said.

Stoltenberg has acknowledged that there are also “differences” between allies on the Iranian nuclear agreement in this matter, from which the United States has been unmarked, but has insisted that “everyone” agrees that Iran cannot endow itself with nuclear weapons.

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