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Nato: German defense spending exceeds two percent target

Nato: German defense spending exceeds two percent target
Nato: German defense spending exceeds two percent target

Before the NATO summit, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented a new overview of the Allies’ defense spending. According to the report, Germany has exceeded an important target.

Germany has reported estimated defense spending of 90.6 billion euros to NATO for the current year, which would clearly meet the alliance’s 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.

Last place is Spain

According to the new figures, 23 alliance states are expected to reach or even exceed the target this year. The leaders in terms of the quota are currently Poland with defense spending of 4.12 percent of GDP and Estonia with 3.43 percent. Both countries are ahead of the USA, which is expected to reach 3.38 percent in 2024 according to the latest estimates.

Countries at the bottom of the rankings are Spain, Slovenia and 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.

Stoltenberg praises “biggest increase in decades”

According to recent estimates, the current 32 NATO states 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 overall 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 figures.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is currently in Washington to prepare for the NATO summit, praised the development as the “biggest increase in decades” at a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Monday. The figures showed that the European allies and Canada were taking on their share of responsibility for protecting all members of the NATO alliance. Biden spoke of a “record number” of allies who had now reached the target for defense spending.

NATO sends message not only to Russia

By drastically increasing defense spending, the allies are reacting in particular to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. By significantly strengthening deterrence and defense, they want to make it clear to Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin that an attack on a European NATO country would have no chance of success. At the NATO summit in Washington from July 9 to 11, the allies would agree to further increase financial support for Ukraine, Stoltenberg said.

The figures could also be helpful with a view to a possible re-election of Donald Trump in the US presidential election in November. The Republican has already made it clear during the election campaign that he would not provide American support to allies with low defense spending in the event of a Russian attack. During his term in office from 2017 to 2021, Trump had already repeatedly railed against what he considered to be too low defense spending by European allies and at times even threatened to withdraw the USA from the alliance.

Stoltenberg said in an interview with “Welt” and US media on Monday that Trump had not primarily criticized NATO. “His criticism was directed at NATO members who do not invest enough in NATO.” The NATO Secretary General once again praised the headquarters planned in Wiesbaden for the planned NATO mission to coordinate arms deliveries and training activities for the Ukrainian armed forces. The establishment of the new headquarters is important, “regardless of who the next US president is.”

USA clearly ahead of Russia and China

Despite the significant increases made by the Europeans, the figures show that the USA will still invest an estimated $968 billion in defense, more than twice as much as all the other 31 NATO partners combined, and will therefore remain the absolute number one internationally.

For comparison: Russia’s military spending was estimated by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) to be only around 109 billion dollars for 2023, which, taking into account differences in purchasing power in the West, would be around 295 billion dollars. China’s spending was 220 billion dollars, or 408 billion dollars adjusted for purchasing power.

Source: Stern

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