13 Feb 2024, 17:34

Around 20 NATO countries set to hit spending target in 2024

BRUSSELS, Feb 13, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Some two-thirds of NATO's 31 member 
countries are expected to reach the defence spending target of two percent of 
GDP in 2024, officials said Tuesday, almost double last year's number.

Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg is due to detail NATO's new estimates on 
Wednesday after former US president Donald Trump unleashed a political 
firestorm by saying he would "encourage" Russia to attack countries not 
paying their share.

The estimates will indicate that around 20 allies are on track to meet the 
two-percent target this year, officials said.

The Republican White House frontrunner was rebuked from all sides after 
saying in a stump speech Saturday he would not defend NATO members who had 
not met their financial obligations, in his most extreme broadside against 
the organisation. 

NATO in 2014 set a target for members to spend two percent of their gross 
domestic product on defence in response to Russia's seizure of Crimea from 

During his time as president, Trump railed against Washington's NATO allies 
to pressure them to spend more on defence -- and his goading may have helped 
speed up the process.

But still, in 2023, only 11 of the 31 allies were down to hit the target and 
the United States still accounts for the vast bulk of combined defence 

Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 served as a wake-up call for 
European countries and saw NATO turn the two-percent figure into a minimum 

Key players such as Germany have ramped up their defence spending and are 
expected to meet the target this year.
Trump's weekend comments drew condemnation from leaders including US 
President Joe Biden -- whom he looks set to face in November's presidential 
election -- and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Scholz warned that casting doubt on NATO's collective defence guarantee which 
has safeguarded Europe since World War II was "irresponsible and dangerous".

Trump pushed backed at the criticism by insisting that his strongarm tactics 
had made NATO stronger and that "money came rolling in" after he assailed 
member countries that did not pay their fair share. 

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