The German Chancellor has committed to a ten-year plan to boost her country’s defence budget as part of an agreement among Nato member states in 2014.
In a speech delivered to this year’s Munich Security conference, Merkel said: “We will do everything we can in order to fulfil this commitment.”
But speaking to the media after her speech, Merkel said Germany “cannot do more” to increase spending and added that money “has to be absorbed somehow” in the national budget.
The Chancellor’s comments risk frustrating President Trump, who has on numerous occasions blasted Nato member states for failing to adequately contribute to the alliance.
According to Nato statistics, Germany currently only spends 1.2 per cent of GDP on defence – considerably less than the two per cent mutually agreed by the alliance’s member states.
Merkel said Germany would boost military spending in its own time
The conference in the Bavarian capital was Merkel’s first meeting with Vice President Pence, who used his speech to stress Trump’s expectation for members to pay their fair share.
He said: “The promise to share the burden of our defence has not been fulfilled by too many for too long, and it erodes at the foundation of our alliance.
“The President of the United States of America expects our allies to keep their word, to fulfil this commitment, and for most, this means the time has come to do more.”
Merkel and Pence met at this year's Munich Security conference
Pence urged Nato members to pay their fair share in his speech
Contrary to Donald Trump’s past comments blasting Nato as “obsolete”, Pence assured member states of the US’ commitment to the bloc.
He said: “Your struggles are our struggles, your success is our success and ultimately, we walk into the future together. This is President Trump’s promise.”
'MERKEL MUST GO': Brussels protest against German Chancellor Tue, February 14, 2017
Angry campaigners held placards with slogans reading 'Merkel not welcomed' and 'Merkel must go' following a spate of terror attacks against Germany.
Play slideshow EPA 1 of 11
Protest on the sidelines of Angela Merkel's official visit in Brussels
Pence also sought to ease concerns over Trump’s stance on Russia, which has attracted widespread criticism across the US and Europe.
He said: “Know this: the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground which as you know President Trump believes can be found.”
- Australian workers should have ‘EU-STYLE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT’
- EU workers in Britain could be ‘DENIED benefits without adequate jobs'
- Donald Trump hails Brexit as chance for Britain to 'TAKE BACK CONTROL'