NATO meeting on 25 May: Germany provides ever more staff, equipment and funding for the Alliance

When the NATO heads of state and government meet on 25 May, one of their key topics of conversation will be burden-sharing and thus the way decisions taken in Wales and Warsaw are being implemented within the North Atlantic Alliance.


(© Bundeswehr/Eva Pfaender)
Germany contributes a significant amount, not least within NATO, to defence and joint operations. The meeting in Brussels will also discuss how NATO can increase its involvement in the fight against terrorism. At the Warsaw summit in 2016, the NATO heads of state and government agreed to provide AWACS aerial surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, which comprises more than 60 countries. Germany plays a key role in ensuring that this special unit is operational: the AWACS crews have been provided by 15 NATO members, but around a third of them are Bundeswehr troops.

What next in Afghanistan?

Another item on the agenda for Brussels is the future of the mission in Afghanistan. NATO’s aim is to continue training Afghan security forces. Germany is in charge of this operation in the north of the country, with almost 1000 Bundeswehr servicemen and -women currently deployed there. Germany has also taken on a leading role in the reassurance measures on NATO’s eastern flank. In relations with Russia, NATO is pursuing a dual-track approach of dialogue and credible deterrence. The enhanced Forward Presence agreed at the Warsaw summit involves deploying four battlegroups in eastern Europe on a rotational basis. Germany is acting as the framework nation for the battlegroup in Lithuania, with the multinational formation set to include up to 450 Bundeswehr troops in future. More than 100 servicemen and -women are currently helping to train Latvia’s armed forces in the use of a mobile aerial surveillance system. At the beginning of May, the German air force finished its ninth round of participation in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia. Germany’s frigate Brandenburg and, temporarily, Clearance Diver Support Vessel Rottweil are currently assisting Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 as part of NATO’s activity in the Aegean.

Germany’s contribution has grown steadily in recent years, in terms of personnel, equipment and funding – not only through day-to-day service in NATO formations and institutions but above all through Bundeswehr deployments, standby commitments and standing operational tasks.

Standing by our commitments

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his gratitude for this when speaking to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in early May: “Germany has increased its defence budget. And I very much welcome that. Burden sharing is not just about money. Burden sharing is also about capabilities and contributions to NATO missions and operations. And Germany makes key contributions on all these aspects.” Chancellor Merkel declared that Germany stood by its commitments. She was glad, she said, that the spotlight was not only on financial expenditure but also on “what we contribute to the individual NATO missions, what each member contributes and what capabilities we bring to bear”.

This is the translation of an article by Florian Manthey published in bundeswehr aktuell

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