The longer Germany’s grand coalition stays in power, the more doubtful it is that Berlin will raise defence expenditure to the levels that it has promised its US and European allies. A failure to meet Germany’s commitments will corrode the mutual trust that is the essential ingredient of a successful international military alliance.
Inadequate German defence spending weakens Nato, the foundation stone of the nation’s security for 70 years. It damages US-German relations, which are at a post-1945 low because of the Trump administration’s disruption of the liberal world order. Ultimately, it undermines the credibility of the government’s claim that Germany stands for a robust, autonomous European security and defence strategy less reliant on Washington.
The Christian Democrat-Social Democrat coalition that assumed office in 2017 informed Nato at the start of this year that it would spend 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product on defence in 2024. This figure was below the 2 per cent to which Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and other national leaders had committed themselves at a Nato summit in 2014.