US President Donald Trump is considering relocating US troops from Germany to Poland. Trump said at a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Washington on Wednesday that plans were in place to increase 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.
Trump spoke of 52,000 American soldiers currently stationed in Germany. How the president came to this number was initially unclear. In fact, around 35,000 American soldiers are stationed in this country. The American Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, announced last September that the troops should be increased by 1500 soldiers. These are not there yet.
Currently, about 4,000 American soldiers are stationed in Poland. The local government has long been campaigning for an increase in US troops there. Many Poles in the United States 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 American military base in his country in the conversation, which he wants to give the president in honor of 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 going down the drain with dependence on the pipeline and, in the worst case, could become a” hostage to Russia “. 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 United States is trying to sell its abundant gas in Europe. US has signed a five-year supply contract with Poland. Poland has built its own terminal where ships can dock with gas on board.
Trump democratically defended the Polish government against charges of eroding the rule of law in the country. When asked if he was worried about possible steps backwards in terms of democracy in Poland, Trump said at the meeting with Duda: “I am not worried at all.” Duda himself replied to the question of journalists 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.