Stoltenberg: "unprecedented progress" in spending by NATO members
More European allies in NATO are set to meet a defence spending target sought by the United States in 2019, with "unprecedented progress" made, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
Nine NATO countries will now meet or exceed the NATO target of spending 2% of national output on defence by the end of this year - the United States, Bulgaria, Britain, Greece, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Turkey and France are expected to be just below the goal, with only Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg still spending less than 1% of economic output on defence.
That compares to seven NATO countries on target in 2018.
The increases also mean that between 2016 and the end of 2024, Europe, Turkey, and Canada, are expected to increase defence spending by a cumulative $400 billion.
"The accumulated increase in defence spending by the end of 2024 will be 400 billion U.S. dollars. This is unprecedented progress," Stoltenberg told a news conference before the NATO summit in London next Tuesday and Wednesday.
At a NATO summit in Wales in 2014, allies agreed to end years of defence cuts that left Europeans without vital capabilities, such as refuelling airborne fighter bombers, although the 2% percent goal is not legally binding.
Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters