U.S Ambassador to Germany, Richard Richard Grenell revealed that Washington is considering the withdrawal of troops based in Germany.
“It’s really offensive to expect US taxpayers to continue to pay more than 50 000 Americans in Germany, but Germans use their trade surplus for domestic purposes,” Grenell told DPA news agency.
The rift between Berlin and Washington over Germany’s non-compliance with NATO’s 2 percent budget allocation on defense has worsened in the past months. Although Germany plans to significantly increase defense budget to 1.36% of GDP this year, the allocation still fails to meet NATO’s 2% target for alliance members.
Mrs Merkel’s government has pledged to increase defense spending to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2024 but those promises were undermined when Olaf Scholz, the finance minister, cut planned increases in this year’s budget.
Germany’s refusal to participate in a joint naval taskforce in the Strait of Hormuz and to send ground troops to fight extremist groups and radicals of the Islamic State further dented the ties between Berlin and Washington.
Grenell’s remarks comes after U.S ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher expressed willingness to take in the American troops from Germany:
“Poland meets its 2% of GDP spending obligation towards NATO. Germany does not. We would welcome American troops in Germany to come to Poland.”
Grenell also mentioned that in June, President Donald Trump had spoken with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Washington about the possibility of moving U.S troops from Germany to Poland.
“President Trump is right and Georgette Mosbacher is right. Numerous presidents have asked Europe’s largest economy to pay for their own defense. This is a plea that has dragged on for many years and many governments.”
The largest deployment of American soldiers in Europe is in Germany, with 35,000 soldiers deployed there along with 17,000 American civilians and 12,000 German civilians employed by the US military.