How many NATO countries spend 2% of GDP on defense?

How many NATO countries spend 2% of GDP on defense?

Answer: 8


The Latest Figures

Eight is the latest figure according to the secretary-general of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, who said this year [he] “expects eight allies to meet the pledge of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.” Stoltenberg revealed NATO’s estimate in an interview with POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast. [Ryan Heath / Politico]

However…

“According to NATO’s own figures, just 5 of the 28 alliance members meet the requirement agreed upon in 2006” [Ian Bremmer / TIME]

In July 2017 only six EU countries hit the 2 percent target: the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Romania and Poland. [CNBC]

So yes, there are varying accounts as to which countries are meeting the target.

So let’s break it down

France is the next closest to the target, with defense spending at 1.79 percent of GDP. [NATO]

“Germany still falls far short of NATO’s 2%-of-GDP guideline. Even the country’s stated aim of reaching 1.5% of GDP by 2024 is not matched by actual spending plans, which suggest the share will remain at around 1.2% None of Germany’s six submarines is operational. Only four of its 128 Eurofighter jets are combat-ready. “We failed” on the defense budget, says Ms. Major. Germany is now “paying the price for a very long neglect.” [The Economist]

“The Spanish plan to boost defense spending by 80%, or about $22 billion, moving from 0.9% to 1.6% of GDP over the next seven years.” [Julian E. Barnes / Wall Street Journal]

Last year, Greece spent 2.38 percent of GDP spent on defense. “Greece has been splashing out for decades, averaging a defense budget of 6.2 percent of GDP throughout the 1980s. Much of this has to do with its historically tense relationship with Turkey, a fellow NATO member currently helmed by a president prone to brash rhetoric and not-so-veiled threats.” [Ian Bremmer / TIME]

“The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of NATO’s overall defense expenditure” [Jonathan Stearns / Bloomberg]

Conclusion

“For 42 years after its founding in 1949, NATO had a clear and singular mission: to defend Western Europe from Soviet expansionism. Full stop.” [Alex Kliment / Signal]

“Defense spending and NATO in general matters because if one NATO member is attacked, it’s viewed as attacking the rest of the members. The idea is expressed in Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO members “will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force,” according to the article.  The article was invoked for the first time in the wake of 9/11.” [Fox News]

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