NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is this week urging member nations to boost their collective defense spending after an annual report issued by the alliance found that merely seven out of 30 member states fulfilled the 2% spending requirement last year. NATO had projected that nine would reach the spending goal in 2022, but the report confirms the alliance fell short.
“We actually expected the number to be slightly higher but because GDP has increased more than expected for a couple of allies, two fell below 2%,” Stoltenberg commented from Brussels Tuesday. “There’s no doubt that we need to do more and we need to do it faster,” he told the press briefing. “The pace now, when it comes to increases in defense spending, is not a high enough,” he said.
“My message to allies is that we welcome what they’ve done but they need to speed up, they need to deliver more in a more dangerous world.” It was expected that the Russia-Ukraine war would be a catalyst spurring more members states to ramp up spending to the current target.
The seven countries that reached the 2% defense spending goal are as follows:
Those falling short included France, while NATO’s annual report identified Turkey and Canada as actually lagging further behind where defense spending was for the prior year.
Last summer as the war in Ukraine raged, Stoltenberg asserted the alliance was undergoing “the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.” But apparently that overhaul may have stalled given the new numbers.
As Statista’s Katharina Buchholz reported previously, even before war on the European continent became a reality again in 2022, tensions had been running high about the state of NATO’s military infrastructure as most European nations had adopted a lackluster approach to defense spending in peace times.
U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 brought the issue to the forefront once more as he criticized a number of NATO member states, especially Germany, for not meeting the 2-percent-of-GDP spending threshold agreed upon at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales.
Since then, a number of NATO members have upped their defense spending.
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Larger and wealthier NATO members stayed behind the goal in 2022 – often by a large margin. This includes Germany, Canada, Italy and Spain.
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