Stoltenberg: Eight NATO countries to hit 2% defence pledge by end of year

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaking the day before the alliance's 2018 Brussels Summit. 10 July, 2018. Source: Reinhard Krause/Reuters/Scanpix

NATO countries have recently managed to achieve a record increase in defence spending, and by the end of the year, altogether eight member states will be spending at least two percent of their GDP on defence, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

"The estimates show that we expect eight allies to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence this year, compared to just three allies in 2014," Stoltenberg noted.

The eight countries to achieve or exceeed the 2% mark are Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, the US and the UK.

According to NATO forecasts, Poland, Lithuania and Romania will actually fall just short of two percent, but Stoltenberg said they had promised to take steps to clear the threshold.

"Estimates indicate that compared to 2014, allies have stopped decreasing defence spending and everybody is increasing it, while in the last year they have shown the greatest growth in the whole generation," noted the NATO chief. "This is the fourth year in a row when defence spending is increasing."

He recalled that NATO states began increasing their defence spending to the 2% mark for the next decade in 2014.

According to Stoltenberg, NATO has achieved notable success since then, but "efforts must be doubled."

NATO's 2018 Brussels Summit takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: AFP-Interfax-BNS

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