Reuters International

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will have to increase its defence spending considerably from current levels to deal with external threats, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

Speaking at an economics conference in Berlin, Merkel said the European Union was not currently in a position to defend itself against external threats and it could not just rely on its transatlantic partnership with the United States.

"Sure enough this means that a country like Germany, which today spends around 1.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, and the United States, which spends 3.4 percent of GDP for defence will have to converge," Merkel said.

She added that Germany could not expect others to bear the burden of defence in the long term.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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