Ahead of next week’s leaders meeting in London, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Thursday announced that it agreed to reduce the United States financial obligation to the alliance’s central budget, according to the New York Times.
“The U.S. will pay less, Germany will pay more, so now the U.S. and Germany will pay the same,” NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
The move is widely viewed as a concession to President Donald Trump, who for years has complained about America shouldering a disproportionate amount of the organization’s budget. The U.S. previously funded approximately 22-percent of the central budget, while other countries each provided about 16-percent.
While NATO’s central budget is different from the member countries’ foundational agreement to spend two-percent of their nation’s gross domestic product on defense, the president’s insistence that other members contribute more has provided tangible results.
According to the Times report, the announcement was meant to placate President Trump and potentially prevent him from derailing next week’s leaders meeting as he did in 2018. During last year’s meeting in Brussels, Trump harshly criticized America’s NATO allies, particularly laying into Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel as being compromised by her reliance on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Following Trump’s performance, Congress immediately passed a resolution, with wide bipartisan support, stating that the United States “must remain committed to our NATO allies in the face of any aggression irrespective of their ability to meet the NATO benchmark of spending.”
President Macron, who recently said NATO countries failure to coordinate with one another had left the alliance approaching “brain death,” also defended those comments Thursday.
“A wake-up call was necessary,” Macron said in response to those criticizing his statement. “I’m glad it was delivered, and I’m glad everyone now thinks we should rather think about our strategic goals.”
[image via Jeff J Mitchell – Pool /Getty Images]