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NATO partners remain on track to reach defence spending goals

NATO countries are buying F-35 aircraft. (Swedish Armed Forces)

NATO countries are on course to reach the goal of spending at least 2% of their GDP to defence spending to continue to ensure the alliance's military readiness, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on 31 January during an event at the Heritage Foundation.

NATO defence ministers agreed to commit to the 2% minimum in 2006, but Stoltenberg acknowledged that even as of a few years ago only three countries had met that bar. Complaints from US officials prompted more countries to reach the level, he noted.

“Things are now changing,” he said, adding that, for this year, at least half of the countries will meet the 2% figure. Poland will spend more than 4%, he said.

“It's not good enough, but it's getting better,” he said. “Those allies not yet at 2% are coming very close and have a plan to get to 2%. It's a totally different world than it was just a few years ago.”

He said, “We must invest in our defence. NATO remains central to this effort.”

He noted that NATO countries have increased defence investments to USD450 billion, with agreements to purchase USD120 billion worth of goods from the US, including thousands of missiles and hundreds of Abrams tanks and F-35 fighter aircraft.

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