"Three per cent of GDP for foreign, development, and defense policy"

How can Germany's contribution to international security and peace be strengthened? Over the past few months, MSC has repeatedly argued in favor of considering a so-called "three percent goal."

MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, speaking during the final session of the 53rd edition of the MSC (Photo: MSC/Kuhlmann)

"To make sure our efforts are adequately funded, we should consider introducing a new foreign policy guideline such as a 'three percent criterion' for more international commitment: we should spend at least 3 % of our GDP for crisis prevention, development assistance, and defense," MSc Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger argued in an op-ed. "There is an unmet 2 % goal for defense expenditures, an unmet 0.7 % goal for development cooperation, and other small budgetary items. A holistic discussion of the necessary expenditures would truly benefit the public discourse on foreign policy." For explanations of the argument, also read an article by Tobias Bunde, Head of Policy and Analysis, and in Wolfgang Ischinger's address on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the "Speech of Hope" on 7 October 2016 in Stuttgart.


We are grateful that the German Federal President Joachim Gauck has also taken up this idea in his speech on 18 February 2017 in Munich. "You, dear Mister Ischinger, recently introduced the number three. Three per cent of GDP, you suggested, should the Federal Republic of Germany invest in peace and order. Three per cent not just for a larger defense budget, but also for crisis prevention, diplomacy, and development assistance. That is, I hink, money well spent," the President said. "It would strengthen our defense capabilities and, at the same time, our credibility. We should be able to agree with our American partners on a fair burden-sharing."




18 February 2017, by MSC