Belgium to invest 1.24 per cent of GDP in defence in 2024
Belgium will invest 1.24 per cent of its gross domestic product in defence in 2024, Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder said on Tuesday evening. It will be the fourth increase in the defence budget in a row.
The percentage is slightly higher than expected because Belgium will send 611 million euros in military aid to Ukraine next year. However, it is lower than the 1.26 per cent originally planned for 2024, which the minister blamed on GDP fluctuations.
The percentage remains well below the NATO guideline of 2 per cent. Belgium aims to reach this target by 2035, with an interim target of 1.57 per cent by 2030.
Western European countries, including Belgium, lag far behind NATO members closer to Russia. In July, NATO predicted that Poland's defence budget would reach 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2023. Belgium, meanwhile, is doing worse than any other NATO country except Luxembourg.
This lack of spending could cause problems for Belgium in the near future, professor and Belgian Defence expert Alexander Mattelaer told VRT on Tuesday. "Our country is coming under diplomatic pressure because we are doing far too little in the field of defence."
© BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND