Germany will increase its defense spending as promised to NATO allies, but the government must also keep in mind its military history and fears among its European neighbors, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Wednesday.
"One has to ask whether it would really calm Germany's neighbors if we turned into a big military power in Europe and ... spent over 60 billion euros a year in weapons," Gabriel told reporters. "I have my doubts."
Gabriel, a Social Democrat, underscored his concerns about rapidly increasing spending to meet NATO's defense spending target of 2 percent of economic output, arguing that a broader approach was needed to build collective capabilities in Europe.
Germany has come under increased pressure since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump to boost military spending to meet NATO's target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.
The issue has become a source of tension between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and Gabriel's Social Democrats, junior partners in the ruling coalition government who are hoping to unseat Merkel in September national elections.