More than half of NATO member states to meet 2 per cent defence spending minimum

Eighteen of the 31 NATO member states are expected to achieve the set defence spending target of 2 per cent of their GDP, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday ahead of Defence ministers meeting on Thursday in Brussels.

"This is an unprecedented rise," Stoltenberg said. In 2014, only three met the threshold.

In 2006, member states agreed to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. During the 2014 NATO summit, they reiterated that commitment and promised not to make any further cuts to defence budgets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Crimea in Ukraine.

In 2023, European member states and Canada increased their defence spending by 11 per cent. “Some allies still have a way to go,” Stoltenberg said. He reminded member states of the agreement made during the summit in Vilnius last year that 2 per cent must be a minimum for all NATO countries.

Last week, former US president Donald Trump repeated the call for more defence spending by NATO countries. He said in a speech on Saturday evening that Russia "can do whatever it wants" to NATO member states that do not spend enough on defence. “You have to pay your bills,” Trump said.

Such statements "undermine the security of all of us, including that of the United States," Stoltenberg said. US president Joe Biden condemned the statements as "stupid, shameful, dangerous, un-American".


NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg ©PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP

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