23 countries reach two percent target: Stoltenberg assesses NATO record contributions

23 countries at two percent target
Stoltenberg assesses NATO record contributions

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Because of the war in Ukraine, Western defense spending is growing at a record pace: NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg and US President Biden have certified that 23 countries are achieving the alliance’s two percent target. Germany is one of them.

More than 20 NATO countries will spend at least two percent of their gross domestic product on defense this year, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. At a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House, Stoltenberg said that 23 of the 32 member states had reached the target. “US allies are increasing their defense spending by 18 percent this year. This is the largest increase in decades,” he added.

Germany reported estimated defense spending of 90.6 billion euros to NATO for the current year, which would clearly meet the two percent target. As a new NATO overview shows, the record sum corresponds to a share of the forecast German gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.12 percent. The ratio would therefore be higher than expected at the beginning of the year.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Germany has set itself the goal of reaching the NATO target for defence spending agreed in 2014 for the first time this year. It stipulates that member states should allocate at least two percent of their GDP to this annually.

Europe and Canada are up 18 percent

The current leaders in terms of the quota are Poland with defense spending of 4.12 percent of GDP and Estonia with 3.43 percent. Both countries are ahead of the USA, which according to the latest estimates is expected to reach 3.38 percent in 2024. Countries at the bottom of the ranking are Spain and Slovenia, Luxembourg, which are currently below 1.3 percent. Belgium (1.30 percent), Canada (1.37 percent), Italy (1.49 percent) and Portugal (1.55 percent) will also miss the NATO target by a long way.

According to recent estimates, the current 32 NATO countries will spend around 1.5 trillion US dollars (around 1.4 trillion euros) on defense in 2024. Excluding inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, this would represent an increase of 10.9 percent compared to the previous year. The European allies and Canada alone would even see an increase of 17.9 percent, according to the information.

Stoltenberg, who is currently in Washington to prepare for the NATO summit, praised the European allies and Canada for taking their share of responsibility for protecting all members of the alliance. Biden spoke of a “record number” of allies who have now reached the defense spending target. Just five years ago, fewer than ten NATO members achieved the goal.

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