NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has increased pressure on Germany to increase its defense spending. "In the Cold War, when Konrad Adenauer or Willy Brandt ruled, defense spending was three to four percent of economic output," Stoltenberg told the newspapers of the Funke media group. It was similar in his native Norway. "We did it then, and we have to do it again today."
Stoltenberg recalled the decision at the NATO summit in Vilnius that two percent of gross domestic product for military spending was “the minimum.” He assumes that many allies will be able to exceed this goal. As a former head of government in Norway, he knows how difficult it is to budget more money for defense when higher spending on health, education or infrastructure is also necessary. But if tensions rise, defense spending would have to increase.
Germany's role and the war against Ukraine
The Federal Republic has "still not achieved" NATO's goal of investing two percent of economic output in defense, emphasized Stoltenberg. However, he confirmed that Germany is “on the right track” towards achieving this goal. "It makes a huge difference for the alliance whether Europe's largest country adheres to this requirement or not," said the NATO Secretary General. "Two percent of a large cake is more than two percent of a small cake."
Stoltenberg does not expect the fighting in Ukraine to end quickly. "Most wars last longer than expected when they started. That's why we need to prepare for a long war in Ukraine."