US President Obama has called on Germany and the NATO countries to increase spending on the military alliance. Merkel said regarding this to be right on track. Obama praised Merkel’s refugee policy and said the Chancellor is standing “on the right side of history”.
Originally at DWN, translated by Karin exclusively for SouthFront
US President Barack Obama calls on NATO partners for more money for armaments: Two and a half months before the NATO summit in Warsaw, Obama urges the Allies to increase their defense spending to two per cent of the gross domestic product: “It is important for all NATO members to try to achieve this goal “. Obama acknowledged that Germany achieved much more than before, but insisted generally on compliance with the NATO criteria. He would repeat this in July before the NATO summit in Warsaw, he said. The US president justified this, among other things with a “more aggressive behavior of Russia,” Reuters writes.
Chancellor Angela Merkel stated Germany would increase its defense spending in the coming years. “We know that we need to increase our defense efforts, including the equipment,” Merkel said on Sunday night after a meeting with US President Barack Obama in Hannover. The government knew the joint NATO target. According to this, NATO members are obligated that defense spending should amount to two percent of their gross domestic product. Only a few allies have reached this goal, including the US and UK. Germany is likely to reach in 2015, according to previous NATO estimates the same as in previous years, 1.2 percent. “But we will try to do better,” Merkel announced. She pointed out that the German armed forces, with the help of the Kurdish Peshmerga have taken over new tasks in northern Iraq and in Mali.
NATO wants in the future to stronger engage in Eastern Europe and the world. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had recently said in Washington that NATO will defend the USA and the EU in foreign countries as well. The new NATO doctrine looks at Russia as a threat. Merkel had adapted the German military doctrine according to this guideline.
Both campaigned forcefully for the planned and in Germany highly controversial free trade agreement between the EU and USA (TTIP). It will probably not be finalized during Obama’s term in office. By early 2017 the negotiations could be completed the president said, but due to the US election campaign, a final decision of the parliament – a ratification – until then would be unlikely.
Merkel said: “We have a unique window of time when it comes to the transatlantic agreement. We must use this time window; otherwise it will not come again soon”. She also warned: “It is time, many decades after the end of World War II, 26 years after the end of the Cold War, to submit a new commitment to the transatlantic partnership.”
The free trade agreement is very important for economic growth in Europe from a European perspective. “I am glad that the President wants to support negotiations. We should do our part, “Merkel said. However, they also showed understanding for the concerns of the opponents. The Free Trade Agreement TTIP is controversial, especially in Germany. On Saturday in Hannover tens of thousands of people had demonstrated against it. They fear a lowering of standards and criticized the lack of transparency in the negotiations.
An acknowledgment of critical studies that expect an increase in the low-wage sector with the TTIP has not been done publicly by the federal government.
Obama praised Merkel for her refugee policy: “She is on the right side of history,” he said on Sunday in Hannover, after meeting with Merkel at his probably last visit to Germany as a President. “She can be admired for her perseverance.”
Obama traced Merkel’s policy on refugees back to her own origin. “Angela understands the desire of those who have their freedom denied and are searching for a better life.” The US declined to follow the good example of Merkel and takes in very few refugees and migrants. Obama had previously said the United States would take 85,000 refugees this year, including 10,000 Syrians. He knew that this was much less than Germany has taken.
That the destabilization of the Syria conflict is due to the activities of their own allies from the Gulf region, was not taken into account in the reflection of the situation. However, Obama and Merkel lament the situation in the country.
The US president praised the trusting relationship with Merkel. “You’ve been a confidante throughout my presidential term,” the president said after the nearly two-hour conversation. “I want to thank you personally for the friendship.”
The in January 2017 outgoing president visited for the fifth time during his term Germany. He was coming from London, landed at noon on Sunday in Hannover, and was received by Merkel at Schloss Herrenhausen with military honors. In the evening both opened the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair, at which the US this year is the partner country.
On Monday Obama and Merkel planned to visit more fair exhibitors before Obama gives a speech, which should be the main focus of his visit. In the afternoon British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived and meet with Merkel and Obama in a kind of G5 format. Late afternoon Obama will start heading home again.