Trump’s reported plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany has gone down badly in Berlin.
- The President is set to remove 9,500 US troops from Germany by September, the Washington Post reported last week.
- Peter Beyer, Germany’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, said this was “completely unacceptable.”
- He added: “The German-US relationship could be severely affected by such a decision from the US president.”
- German foreign minister Heiko Maas said Berlin’s relationship with Washington was “complicated.”
A senior figure in Angela Merkel’s government has described Donald Trump’s reported plan to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany as “completely unacceptable” and warned that it could do significant damage to the German-US relationship.
President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of up to 9,500 US troops from Germany, it was reported last week , fuelling concerns in Europe about Trump’s commitment to safeguarding the region. US troops have been stationed in Germany since the Cold War as a deterrent force against Russia.
Peter Beyer, Germany’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, condemned the reported move in an interview with Germany’s Rheinische Post newspaper reported by Reuters.
Beyer, a senior member of Merkel’s government, said “this is completely unacceptable, especially since nobody in Washington thought about informing its NATO ally Germany in advance.”
In a separate interview with the with the DPA news agency, Beyer said: “The German-US relationship could be severely affected by such a decision from the US president.”
German foreign minister Heiko Maas used more cautious language than his colleague Beyer in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
“Should it come to the withdrawal of part of the US troops, we take note of this,” he said.
However, Maas nonetheless expressed regret over the move, describing Berlin’s relationship with Washington as “complicated.”
“We appreciate the cooperation with the U.S. armed forces that has grown over decades. It is in the interest of both of our countries.
“We are close partners in the transatlantic alliance. But it’s complicated.”
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that troops were expected to be withdrawn by September.
The US relationship with Germany has been strained under the Trump presidency.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the US’ NATO allies like Germany for not spending enough money on defense.
All NATO members share a target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence. However, Germany currently doesn’t plan to hit this level of funding until 2031.
Reacting to reports of Trump’s plan to withdraw troops on Friday, Jim Townsend, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security who previously served the Pentagon doing work on policies pertaining to Europe and NATO, tweeted : “This Administration has just lost its mind.”
“Putin must be deliriously happy with US troops in America’s streets and US troops leaving European streets.”
Source: Business Insider