May 14 (UPI) -- German officials said Tuesday they plan to increase defense spending this year, but not to levels high enough to meet President Donald Trump's demands.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Monday will increase its defense spending from current levels 1.2 percent of GDP to 1.5 percent over the next seven years.
NATO allies, including Germany, are expected to contribute 2 percent of their GDP towards defense. Speaking to German military officials in Berlin on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said meeting the 2 percent benchmark would not be "completely beyond the imagination"
Trump has expressed dissatisfaction in the past over the failure of many NATO allies to meet the 2 percent requirement and has urged countries in the alliance to boost their contribution levels.
The U.S. spends more than 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense.
Although NATO allies fall short of the 2 percent level, many nations in the alliance have increased defense spending within the past year.
According to Bloomberg, European nations increased spending from an average of 1.44 percent to 1.46 percent, while Canada increased sending from 1.16 percent to 1.29 percent.
"European allies and Canada are doing more, stepping up, contributing more to our shared security," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters last month. "Allies are investing in major new capabilities."