Germany’s Scholz pledges to spend 2% on defense “in the 2020s, 2030s and beyond.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives for the weekly federal government cabinet meeting on October 11, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

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MUNICH, Germany — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday confirmed Berlin’s commitment to spend 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) on defense this year and in the long term.

“Germany will invest 2% of its GDP in defense in the 2020s, 2030s and beyond,” Scholz told the Munich Security Conference.

Germany has that commitment in 2024 through regular and special budget spending for the first time since the early 1990s, a defense ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

“We Europeans need to take much more care of our own security, now and in the future,” Scholz said.

It comes as NATO members across Europe have pledged to increase their defense spending.

Eighteen of the 31 members of the US-led military alliance will meet the 2 percent spending target this year, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

“We are making real progress,” Stoltenberg said. “European allies spend more”.

The announcement came days after former US President Donald Trump said over the weekend that he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who do not meet the 2% spending target.

Germany announced a new 100 billion euro ($107 billion) funding fund for the Bundeswehr – Germany’s armed forces – to boost its national security in 2022, days after Russia fully invaded the Ukraine.

Scholz at the time called the move a “Zeitenwende” – or watershed moment – ​​in Germany’s modern history, which would allow the country to meet its long-standing 2% defense spending targets.

The country is expected to spend around 72 billion euros on defense this year, but concerns remain about what will happen after those funds run out in 2027.

Expert estimates suggest the government will need to find €25-30 billion a year to meet this target, according to the Financial Times, which will likely lead to cuts in social spending. Germany is one of the few countries with a borrowing ceiling written into its constitution.

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