NATO allies ‘stepping up' on defence spending, Stoltenberg says

by Marc Selinger

NATO is making significant progress toward its goal of getting member countries to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defence by 2024, according to the head of the transatlantic alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference at alliance headquarters in Brussels on 1 June. (NATO)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference at alliance headquarters in Brussels on 1 June. (NATO)

Of NATO's 30 members, 10 are expected to meet the 2% target this year, up from just three in 2014, when the goal was agreed to at the Wales Summit. A majority of those that are not yet at 2% have plans in place to reach the target by 2024.

“The good news is that we are on the right track,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told the Washington-based Defense Writers Group on 15 June. “Allies are stepping up. Allies take this very seriously.”

While Germany will likely remain shy of 2% it has, nevertheless, boosted its defence spending from 1.19% of GDP in 2014 to 1.53% this year. “That really makes a difference,” Stoltenberg said.

An important message of NATO's 14 June Brussels Summit was that the alliance should continue working toward the 2% goal, he added.

The 10 countries that are projected to be at or above 2% this year are Croatia (2.79%), Estonia (2.28%), France (2.01%), Greece (3.82%), Latvia, (2.27%), Lithuania (2.03%), Poland (2.10%), Romania, (2.02%), the United Kingdom (2.29%), and the United States (3.52%).

Norway is at 1.85%, while the lowest spenders are Belgium (1.12%), Canada (1.39%), Luxembourg (0.57%), Slovenia (1.28%), and Spain (1.02%).

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