BERLIN (AP) — Germany's defense minister is calling for the country to spend 2% of gross domestic product on defense by 2031, a target Chancellor Angela Merkel called "realistic but ambitious."
NATO members in 2014 agreed to "aim to move toward" increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024. The U.S. has criticized Berlin's defense spending, which is rising but now stands at 1.36% of GDP.
Germany aims to reach 1.5% by 2024. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who leads Merkel's party, says it should reach 2% by 2031.
Merkel said after meeting Thursday with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that, in view of what Germany has done in recent years, "it is a realistic but ambitious proposal to reach this (2 in 2031."
The 2% defense spending aim is disputed by the junior partners in Merkel's coalition government.