European Nato allies increase defence spending

Miranda GreerMar 15, 2017

But Europe has sought to reverse the falling numbers since its neighbour Russian Federation annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 by setting the target for defence spending at 2 percent of each member state's economic output.

The U.S. led with defense expenditure of 3.61 of GDP past year, while European nations spent an average 1.47 percent on such outlays, according to the report.

Alongside stressing on the need to increase defence spending, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief highlighted the major achievements of the alliance and the major challenges it is set to take on in the coming days.

Defense spending by European NATO states inched up for the first time in seven years in 2016, the military alliance said on Monday (March 13). "All allies have agreed to do it at the highest level". But overall spending still remained below the 2 percent threshold US President Donald Trump said was crucial to achieve.

Romania expects to reach the requirement this year, and Lithuania and Latvia both expect to do so in 2018, according to the report.

According to figures from NATO, Britain has met the minimum 2% defence spending figure, but according to a report released by thinktank the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the United Kingdom falls short with 1.98%. "There has been progress, but the job is far from done", Mr Stoltenberg said in Brussels. Stoltenberg published his annual report on Monday that shows they spent around $10 billion more in 2016 than they did in 2015.

"European governments failing to meet their spending commitments which aren't just a pie in the sky figure but were calculated to ensure that military spending could keep forces in a well trained, well equipped state, need to shape up", he added.

Defense spending by NATO's European allies has been on steady decline since the Cold War ended. "It is in Europe's best interest to spend more on defence", Stoltenberg said.

"But my message is that if we are decreasing defence spending in times with reduced tensions, we have to be able to increase defence spending when tensions are going up and now tensions have gone up".

Stoltenberg's report said Canada saw a small bump in defence spending in 2016, which pushed the percentage of GDP spent on defence to an estimated 1.02 per cent, up from 0.98 per cent.

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