'It's complicated': United States mulls withdrawing thousands of troops from Germany

'It's complicated': United States mulls withdrawing thousands of troops from Germany

'It's complicated': United States mulls withdrawing thousands of troops from Germany

Mr Beyer's comments came in response to reports in the USA and German media that President Donald Trump had made a decision to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany.

"These plans demonstrate once again that the Trump administration neglects a central element of leadership: the involvement of alliance partners in the decision-making process", Johann Wadephul, deputy head of Merkel's parliamentary caucus, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in an emailed statement.

The Wall Street Journal and other media reported on Friday that Trump had ordered the Pentagon to slash the number of United States military personnel by 9,500 from the current 34,500 permanently assigned in Germany.

Pentagon will reduce 9,500 troops from the current 34,500 being assigned in Germany, The Wall Street Journal reported.

There was no official confirmation of the reports from either side. Historically one of America's most loyal allies, Germany is home to the biggest US contingent in Europe and hosts key overseas installations such as the Ramstein Air Base and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Former U.S. Army Europe commander Ben Hodges, in a Twitter post, described the plan as a "colossal mistake" not tied to any strategy and "a gift" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Even so, he warned Germany in December that while it was coming along on increases in defense spending, he might take action related to trade with Europe if Merkel's government didn't do more to reach North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members' agreed goal of spending 2% of gross domestic product on their militaries.

It's not clear what forces would be pulled if the plan is put into action. The U.S. also has thousands of troops based in Grafenwoehr, where the Army has infantry units and a large training center.

While some senior political leaders have actually implicated the U.S. of sidelining its allies when it comes to choice making, others state now is the time for Europe to organize its own future. EUCOM declined to comment on whether it was drawing up plans to scale down, referring questions to the Pentagon.

Reports that Trump was considering further cuts and a possible troop relocation to Poland have circulated for at least two years, while United States troop strength in Germany has shrunk to about 34,500 from a high of 274,000 during the 1960s.

In an interview with dpa, he said it was "offensive" that USA taxpayers must foot the bill for the deployment on German territory while "Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programmes".

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