Merkel Challenger Urges Disarmament, Rejects Military Spending Hikes

Vows Germany Will 'Strongly Resist' US Demands for More Spending

by Jason Ditz, April 10, 2017

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to talk up increasing military spending, with an eye toward getting closer to long-standing US demands for 2% of GDP spending on their military, her main opponent for chancellor, the SPD’s Martin Schulz is vowing to go the other direction.

Schulz, the former President of European Parliament, says Germany’s commitment to NATO was not in question, but that Germany needs to be an advocate for disarmament initiatives instead of participating in a spiral of military armament.

Schulz went on to reject the idea of spending 2% of Germany’s GDP on the military, saying it would cause a “substantial financial burden” for Germany to make such a large increase, and that he would be willing to “strongly resist” President Trump’s demands for more spending.

Merkel had previously been seen as likely to retain her post as chancellor, though in recent weeks polls have tightened sharply, and Schulz’s SPD is now running neck-and-neck with the ruling Christian Democrats, raising the possibility of a leftist coalition after the vote.

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