US President praises Poland for defence spending

Poland “does more than is expected”, said President Donald Trump during meeting with German Chancellor.

Defense Minister wants more US troops on Polish soil

“Our intentions are clear. We are prepared to increase the number of US troops serving in Poland,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak...

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The US President Donald Trump chided Germany for insufficient defence spending during Chancellor’s Angela Merkel’s Friday visit in Washington, taking the opportunity to praise Poland’s efforts to boost its military.

Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, with defence spending being high on the agenda of her US visit. Following the talks, which focused on the Iran nuclear deal and the situation on the Korean Peninsula, he called upon Germany to increase its military spending to reach the minimum threshold of 2 percent of the country’s GDP. “Once everybody pays as much as they should, this will bring an enormous benefit to NATO”, the President said, adding that some countries – such as Poland – pay even more than they are obliged to.

Poland was habitually one of the few countries which actually satisfied the minimum defence spending requirement of at least 2 percent GDP, along with the US, the UK, Estonia and Greece. In 2017, it narrowly missed the target, but only because its GDP grew faster than expected.

“Poland is doing great, it pays slightly more than is expected of it”, President Trump remarked, adding that the US “greatly appreciates” Poland’s efforts, which have recently brought about a USD 4.75 billion Patriot missile deal intended to boost the country’s air defence capability.

Speaking of the countries which have failed to meet the minimum spending threshold, President Trump said that NATO was working on changing the situation, adding that he did not blame Chancellor Merkel or the European Union for this state of affairs. “I blame my predecessors for allowing this to happen,” he added.

During his visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, the newly appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo adopted a similar stance, warning some of NATO members, including Germany, that they need to step up the efforts to meet their defence commitments.

During her Washington visit, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to increase defence spending to 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP by 2019. This is still far off the 2 percent target, which Germany is only expected to meet in 2024.