NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced that European Allies and Canada will add 266 billion dollars in their defence budgets from now until 2024 and eight allies will spend as much as 2.0 percent of their GDPs in 2018.
Making several speeches in Brussel alongside the NATO Summit and Stoltenberg made remarks on NATO allies increasing military spending and the need to stand together despite disagreements.
Underlining the importance of a strong NATO by standing together of 29 allies, Stoltenberg made following remarks during the NATO Summit:
“NATO is about Europe and North America working together, to keep our people safe in a more unpredictable world.
“Today, we will strengthen our collective defence and deterrence and step up our efforts to project stability beyond our borders and fight terrorism.
“Fair burden sharing underpins everything that we do. Just a few years ago, we were cutting our defence budgets. Now we are adding billions. Spending more and spending better.
“Today we will recommit to investing more in our defence. And sharing the burden more fairly.
“It’s very important that this Summit shows that NATO delivers, that we are able to do more together, all 29 Allies, North-America and Europe.
“The US military presence in Europe helps to protect Europe but it also helps the United States to project power to the Middle-East, to Africa and I think also that the clout, the military clout of Europe, the economical clout, the political clout also is helpful dealing with Russia.
“I’m confident that despite discussions, disagreements, we will decide and we will deliver.
“We will also deliver when it comes to burden-sharing, defence spending. Because after decades where Allies were cutting defence budgets by hundreds of billions of dollars and euros we are seeing now that they are adding billions of euros to their defence budgets.
“I expect us to agree on strengthening our collective defence, by increasing the readiness of our forces, we call it the 4 thirties: 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, 30 battle ships ready to move or to be used within 30 days or less.
“But perhaps most important, we will also deliver when it comes to burden-sharing, defence spending. Because after decades where Allies were cutting defence budgets by hundreds of billions of dollars and euros we are seeing now that they are adding billions of euros to their defence budgets.
“We all agree that we don’t have fair burden-sharing in NATO today. Some Allies spend 2.0 percent of GDP and some much more than that on defence, especially US, and other Allies spend much less.
“That’s the reason why we agreed in 2014 that we should stop the cuts after decades of cutting defence spending and we had to stop the cuts, gradually increase and then move towards spending 2.0 percent of GDP on defence.
“The good news is that that’s exactly what we are doing. All Allies, we published the figures yesterday, and I guess you can on NATO’s homepage, an excellent homepage, there you will see that all Allies have stopped the cuts, all Allies have started to increase, and more Allies spend 2.0 percent of GDP on defence.
“This year we expect 8 Allies to spend 2.0 percent of GDP on defence, compared to 3.0 back in 2014. And the majority of Allies have put forward plans on how to reach 2.0 percent within a decade.
“Today, I can announce that we are releasing new 2018 defence spending estimates for each Ally. And they are encouraging. They show that compared to 2014, all Allies have stopped the cuts. All Allies are increasing spending. Last year saw the biggest increase in a generation. And this year will be the fourth consecutive year of real increases.
“We see that last year we had the biggest increase in our defence spending across Europe and Canada.
“We see that all Allies have started to increase defence spending and based on the national plans we have agreed to develop last year.
“We estimate that European Allies and Canada will add 266 billion US dollars to the defence budgets from now until 2024. So we are moving in the right direction.
“So the thing is that Allies understand this, and the good news is that we have started to move.
“Then I’m aware that some Allies would like to see even quicker movement, even higher speed when it comes to defence spending but at least we are moving in the right direction.
“A strong NATO is important for Europe but is also important for the United States and therefore it is important that we show that this Summit, despite differences on different issues is able to agree and deliver on strengthening NATO as a corner stone of transatlantic unity.
“It confirms that there are different views among Allies on different issues, including trade, but also climate change, the Iran nuclear deal and other issues. I will leave… when it comes to trade, I will leave that to the European Union. When it comes to defence, that’s for NATO.
“This year, Germany will continue to increase defence spending in real terms. And Germany has plans to increase spending by 80 percent, 80 percent real increase in defence spending from 2014 to 2024, over a decade. So, also Germany is really moving in the right direction, but of course I expect Germany, as many others Allies, to do more.”
“I welcome that President Trump will meet President Putin. That’s fully in line with NATO policies.
“That is the best possible platform for political dialogue. Because we don’t want a new Cold War. We don’t want a new arms race. Russia is our neighbour. Russia is here to stay. And we need dialogue with Russia on many different levels, to strive for a better relationship with Russia.
“We have to remember that, after President Trump took office, US has increased their military presence in Europe, with more troops, more exercises, more investment in infrastructure, prepositioned equipment. Funding for US presence in Europe has increased by 40 percent since Trump became President. So, actions speak louder than words.”