Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) on Sunday rejected NATO's target of spending 2 percent of national output on defense.
The party leaders also accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other conservatives that they are bending down to the demands of US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported Sunday.
"We say a clear no to the '2 percent target' of Trump and the CDU/CSU (Merkel’s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian branch). It's not only unrealistic, it is simply the wrong goal," SPD leaders Martin Schulz , a candidate for chancellor in the upcoming elections and Thomas Oppermann wrote in an essay for the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain.
Instead, the opposition said that Germany should focus on building a strong European defense union and, ultimately, a European army a stance that may resonate with a deeply pacifist German public that remains skeptical of military engagements.
The pair also criticized any potential move in this direction, as Berlin would have to almost double its current defense spending to keep up with NATO requirements. At the moment, Germany spends around €37 billion (US$43.6 billion) on defense, or 1.2 percent of its budget.
If defense spending were doubled, Germany would become the largest military power in Europe, which they are sure “nobody would want - just because of our past, the pair wrote warning of the consequences.
Instead the SPD leaders offers a strong European defense union, the pair added.