US President Donald Trump is considering relocating American troops from Germany to Poland. Trump said Wednesday at a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Washington that he plans to increase US troop presence in Poland.
In the conversation are 2000 additional soldiers. A final decision had not yet fallen. Trump emphasized that no additional troops were sent, but that it was about moving troops within Europe – from Germany or from other places.
Trump reiterated his criticism of what he considered to be low defense expenditures in Germany. Germany did not fulfill its obligations within NATO, he said. “Germany stands at one percent, they should be at two percent.” This refers to the share of military spending in the German gross domestic product (GDP). Poland, on the other hand, sticks to agreements, praised Trump.
At its summit in Wales in 2014, NATO decided that each Member State should reach its target of spending two percent of GDP on defense by 2024. The federal government has promised to come to 1.5 percent by this date. In the medium-term financial planning, this is not yet shown.
In honor of Duda, Trump had an F-35 fighter plane fly over the White House in Washington. Trump said earlier at his meeting with Duda in the White House Oval Office, Poland ordered “32 or 35” of these fighter jets.
Trump spoke of 52,000 US soldiers currently stationed in Germany. In fact, according to the US Embassy in Berlin, this figure refers to all soldiers plus the civilian American employees of the US armed forces in Germany. The number of US soldiers stationed in Germany is around 35,000.
The US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, announced last September that the troops should be increased by 1500 soldiers. They are not there yet.
Currently, about 4,000 US soldiers are stationed in Poland. The local government has long been campaigning for an increase in American troops there. Many Poles in the US see the protective power against a Russian threat, which is particularly noticeable on the eastern flank of NATO since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. Duda also had a permanent US military base in his country in the conversation, which he wants to give the US President in his honor the name “Fort Trump”.
Trump said Poland wanted to build a world-class military facility. When asked about the name, he said: “That's your decision. You can call it what you want. »
Also in terms of energy supply Trump criticized Germany. Asked whether he was considering sanctions against the planned Baltic Sea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 from Russia to Germany, Trump said, “This is something we look at and think about.” He added: “We protect Germany from Russia, and Russia gets billions of dollars from Germany. “
Trump warned that Germany was depending on the pipeline and could become the “hostage of Russia” at worst. He emphasized, however, that in the end lies the decision about the project in Germany. Nord Stream 2 will deliver gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. Trump and Duda reject the pipeline the federal government is holding on to.
Trump did not provide any information about whom any sanctions could be directed. US Senators Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen brought a bipartisan bill to the Senate in May, providing for sanctions against the operators of those ships relocating the gas pipeline to the sea.
The US is trying to sell its abundant gas in Europe. The US has signed a five-year supply contract with Poland. Poland has built its own terminal where ships with US gas can dock.
Trump democratically defended the Polish government against charges of eroding the rule of law in the country. When asked if he was concerned about possible steps backwards in terms of democracy in Poland, Trump said at the meeting with Duda, “I'm not worried at all.” Duda himself responded to journalists' question on the state of democracy in Poland: “It There are no problems with democracy in Poland. Everything is excellent. »
The EU has long been complaining about the state of the judicial system in Poland and about the systematic political influence of the government on judges. The European Commission had already opened several infringement proceedings and brought lawsuits before the European Court of Justice because of the controversial judicial reforms of the National Conservative Government in Warsaw. At the end of 2017, it even initiated a rule of law procedure under Article 7 of the EU Treaties against Poland. This could lead to the withdrawal of voting rights for Poland.