BERLIN --- Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s budget plan calls for German defence spending of 1.23 percent of economic output in 2023, undercutting Berlin’s pledge to spend 1.5 percent of GDP on the military by 2024, a conservative source said on Thursday.
Scholz, a Social Democrat, wants to increase the budget for Germany’s military by 3.3 billion euros ($3.77 billion) by 2023 - much less than the 28.2 billion euro increase demanded by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the source said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s loveless coalition will thrash out a final budget plan by March 20, but is likely to miss its own scaled-backed target of spending 1.5 percent of GDP on defence by 2024, barring a last-minute cash injection, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That puts it even further away from meeting a pledge by NATO members in 2014 to move toward spending 2 pct of GDP on defence. (end of excerpt)
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