Germans want US troops gone: poll
Germans would welcome the withdrawal of US troops stationed in their country, according to a poll, as Donald Trump threatens to withdraw military support.
Trump is calling on Nato allies to spend more on defence if they want to continue to receive US military protection, while also criticising its energy dependency on Russia.
But a YouGov poll said more Germans would welcome the departure of the 35,000-strong US occupation than would oppose it.
Around 42 per cent of respondents said they supported withdrawal while just 37 per cent wanted the US to stay, with 21 per cent undecided.
In June it was reported that Washington was in the process of assessing the cost of keeping its forces in Germany ahead of a possible withdrawal.
But the policy of pulling out of the country has not reached the negotiating table at the Brussels summit and is not expected to be discussed.
A withdrawal enjoys significant support across the political spectrum in Germany but is particularly strong with certain fringe parties.
“The United States continues to devote more resources to the defence of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound. This is no longer sustainable for us,” wrote Trump in a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Supporters of the left-wing Die Linke are particularly keen on withdrawal, with 67-per-cent support and 55 per cent of right-wing AfD support and 48 per cent of Greens back withdrawal.
Nord Stream 2
Trump was highly critical of Germany’s energy policy.
“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” he reportedly told Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, referring to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “They got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.”
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom’s pipeline to Germany under the Baltic Sea has angered the US which last year started to export LNG to Europe.
Washington claims the Baltic building work could be used as a cover to lay listening devices under the sea to monitor Nato vessels.
Trump added: “We’re protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries [sic] go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. […] I think that’s very inappropriate.”
Trump criticised the involvement of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who chairs the Russian oil company Rosneft.
Germany had been occupied since the Second World War. Picture credit: Flickr