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German conservatives slam reported US troop cut

June 6, 2020

With the US reportedly set to move some 9,500 soldiers out of Germany, conservative MP Andreas Nick told DW the decision seemed to be "politically motivated." Another senior CDU politician described it as a wake-up call.

US military convoy in Brandenburg
Image: picture-alliance/dpa-Zentralbild/R. Hirschberger

Washington's alleged plan to transfer about 9,500 troops out of its German bases is a symbolic gesture that is likely to weaken US military operations and "further deteriorate" trans-Atlantic ties, conservative lawmaker Andreas Nick told DW on Saturday.

The comments come after the Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel magazine, and the Reuters news agency all reported that the US is preparing to cut down its German contingent. Some 34,500 US troops are currently stationed in Germany. The transfer is reportedly due to Germany not investing enough money into its defense.

Read more: Trump orders US troop reduction in Germany — report

Foreign policy expert and lawmaker for the ruling CDU party, Andreas Nick, told DW English that Berlin has yet to receive details from Washington.

"From all I know, there was no official information and communication to the German government," he said.

In separate, German-language comments, Nick emphasized that this was a very unusual approach.

"The Pentagon has not yet publicly commented and has instead redirected press inquiries to the White House — this indicates that the decision is purely politically motivated and not made by experts," he said.

Wake up call for Europe

Germany serves as a major hub for the US military and NATO in Europe and the wider region, with the US maintaining key facilities such as the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany. However, the ties between Berlin and Washington have been deteriorating steadily over geopolitical, financial, and environmental issues since Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

Read more: US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell resigns

On Saturday, senior German conservative Johann Wadephul said the withdrawal of troops would be yet another wake-up call for Europeans to take their fate in their own hands.

"The plans show once again that the Trump administration is disregarding an elementary task of leadership: the involvement of allies in the decision-making process," said Wadephul,  who serves as the deputy head of the parliamentary group for Angela Merkel's  CDU party.

"Everyone gains from the alliance being united, only Russia and China gain from strife," he added.

Poland hopes for US soldiers

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that he "deeply" hoped that some of the troops transferring out of Germany would end up stationed in Poland.

Warsaw and Washington have repeatedly discussed the issue and the decision is "now on the US side," Morawiecki told RMF24 radio.

Read more: Trump confirms more US troops will be sent to Poland

dj/aw (Reuters, DPA)

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