Davos WEF
Davos WEF

NATO has a future despite Trump's criticism: Germany defense minister

NATO has a future: German defense minister

NATO's future is assured in spite of President-elect Donald Trump's criticism, according to Germany's defense minister.

Donald Trump had reportedly described NATO as "obsolete," which prompted Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to concede that this had prompted concern among the alliance. Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated as president of the U.S. on Friday.

"We should recall that the one and only time that Article Five, the article that says whenever one is being attacked, all the other [NATO members] stand up for the victim, it was in 9/11. [This was] when we stood up for the U.S. to defend our common freedom and our common peace in Afghanistan, and we're still there," Ursula von der Leyen, German defense minister, told CNBC in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

"Of course, NATO has to be modernized. We, over the last three years, have been modernizing a lot [and] it has to go on," von der Leyen added.

Still friends after Brexit

Ursula von der Leyen
Emmanuele Contini | NurPhoto via Getty Images

Germany's defense minister added that she was regretful that Britain was on the brink of leaving the European Union. However, she sought to underline the importance for the continent that the U.K. had committed its future to NATO.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the country's plans to make a clean break from the EU on Tuesday. In a wide-ranging speech, May confirmed the U.K. is destined to leave the single market and that a potential Brexit deal with the EU would require a parliamentary vote.

"The good news is, in security matters which I am standing up for, we will still be with our British friends in NATO," she added.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.