Germany hits 2% NATO target for first time since 1992, reports dpa


BERLIN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Germany has met a NATO alliance target to spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defence for the first time since 1992, the dpa news agency reported on Wednesday, as spending ramped up after Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

The German government is allocating the equivalent of $73.41 billion for defence spending in the current year, dpa reported. This is a record figure for Germany in absolute terms and would be 2.01% of GDP.

The defence ministry did not immediately respond to request for comment. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had this week stated that Germany would meet the NATO target, but the government has not divulged precise figures so far.

NATO defence ministers are due to meet in Brussels on Thursday. A separate meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, hosted by the United States, takes place on Wednesday.

Scholz's government has spotlighted its rising defence spending at an uncertain time for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump on the weekend outraged allies by saying he would refuse to protect NATO members who did not spend enough on defence.

Reacting to those remarks in an interview on WELT TV on Tuesday evening, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Trump risked damaging transatlantic relations and "ultimately saw off the branch on which America is sitting."

Pistorius pushed back at opposition suggestions that Germany should increase its special military defence fund to 300 billion euros ($320 billion) from 100 billion, saying the government should increase its regular budgetary outlay instead.

That would help the government in procurement over longer time horizons, he said. "You can actually only do this in a serious, long-term manner with an increased individual plan," he said.

Pistorius also pushed back against the idea, which gained attention after Trump's remarks, of creating a separate European nuclear defence umbrella.

"I can only warn against starting such a discussion with such carelessness just because Donald Trump, who is not even a presidential candidate, makes such statements," he said.

($1 = 0.9350 euros)

(Additional reporting by Alex Ratz; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Miranda Murray and Ros Russell)


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