Germany uses accounting tricks to reach NATO spending target, Spiegel reports
BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government is using "accounting tricks" to meet NATO's 2% military spending target in 2024, Spiegel news magazine said on Friday, citing evidence from an internal finance ministry document.
According to its report, expenditures by seven government ministries, the chancellery of Olaf Scholz, and both houses of parliament are being counted as contributions to defence spending.
The biggest single contribution - 11.2 billion euros ($11.78 billion) - comes from the finance ministry, the report says, adding that the sum includes 4.5 billion euros in interest payments, which the ministry justifies by saying that military equipment was purchased with debt.
The cost of government planes and pension payments to former members of the National People's Army of the communist German Democratic Republic, which was reunfied with then West Germany in 1990, are also being counted as contributions, the report says.
The finance and defence ministries were not immediately available to provide comment on the report.
In August, a source told Reuters the government had retreated from a plan to legally commit itself to meeting NATO's 2% target on an annual basis, only sticking to the pledge averaged out over five years.
($1 = 0.9510 euros)
(Reporting by Friederike Heine; editing by John Stonestreet)