- Options included a return of the 35,000 US soldiers stationed in Germany or the transfer to Poland.
- According to “Washington Post” is so far only an internal study of the Pentagon.
As US Department of Defense tested a deduction stationed in Germany US soldiers, according to a report in the “Washington Post”. Among the options under consideration are a return of a large part of the approximately 35,000 troops stationed in Germany in the United States or the transfer of all or part of the contingent to Poland, the newspaper reported on Friday.
According to the report, US President Donald Trump had previously raised the idea of a troop withdrawal at a meeting with military advisors and White House officials. European NATO members were worried about the process and tried to clarify whether Trump is serious or the threat of a troop restructuring is a negotiating tactic in the run-up to the NATO summit in July.
According to “Washington Post” is so far only an internal study of the Pentagon. A spokesman for the National Security Council denied having requested an analysis of a possible withdrawal of troops from Germany. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon also denied a scheduled withdrawal. At the same time, he explained that the deployment of US troops abroad was regularly reviewed and subjected to “cost-benefit calculations”. The US remains committed to Germany and NATO, Pahon said.
However, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO in the past, calling it “superfluous”, among other things. In a letter to eight European NATO members, he called for higher defense spending. Trump has repeatedly criticized those NATO states that are threatening to miss an agreement reached in 2014 to increase defense spending to two percent of gross domestic product.
“Germany has to spend more money”
In Germany, US soldiers have been stationed since the end of the Second World War. It is the largest contingent outside the US.
The background for Trump’s action will probably be the NATO summit in two weeks. The US President has again accused Germany and other European countries of paying too little for the military alliance. “Germany needs to spend more,” Trump told journalists aboard the presidential press on his way from Washington to his private golf club in New Jersey on Friday. The same applies to France and Spain. “It’s not fair what they did to the US,” he reiterated earlier allegations.
NATO states had agreed in 2014 to increase their defense expenditures to two percent in the direction of economic output by 2024. According to budget planning, the German NATO quota is expected to climb from the current level of 1.2 percent to 1.3 percent in 2019 and then fall again.