BERLIN (Reuters) - German defence spending as a percentage of economic output would rise in 2019, as Chancellor Angela Merkel assured U.S. President Donald Trump last week, but will fall thereafter, unless German budget plans are adjusted, a defence ministry source said on Wednesday.
The source told reporters that defence spending as a percentage of gross domestic product would fall to 1.23 percent in 2022, even below the projected level for 2018, despite Germany’s pledge as a member of NATO to steadily increase defence spending toward a target of 2 percent of GDP.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Development Minister Christian Mueller, both conservatives, objected in writing on Wednesday to the longer-range budget plan drafted by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, arguing that it violated the coalition agreement signed by the two blocs.
The defence ministry expects to have to delay some major procurement programmes planned with other countries unless additional funds are added in coming months, the source said, but declined to say which projects could be affected.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers