NATO members increased their defense spending over the course of 2018 following pressure from the United States, yet just six countries are meeting targets set last year by President Donald Trump.
NATO’s 2018 annual report on Thursday showed that member countries had increased their average defense spending to a five-year high of 1.51 percent, but still nearly 0.5 percent sought of the U.S. target of two percent of each state’s national economic output.
Seven countries, including the United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, and Lithuania, all met their two percent target last year, while spending in Bulgaria, the Baltic states, and the Netherlands increased some 20 percent in 2018 compared with 2017.
Meanwhile, defense spending in Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fell by almost 11 percent, while Germany’s remained the same at 1.23 percent. Both Belgium and Spain’s spending also remains below one percent of GDP.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Thursday that he had received assurances would increase its military spending by 80 percent between 2014 and 2024.
“Germany has after years of cutting defense spending started to increase, and actually added a significant amount of money to the defense budgets,” he said. “But I expect more. I expect further increases and Germany has made it clear they plan to further increase defense spending.”
However, many officials remain unimpressed with Germany’s refusal to meet its NATO commitments. Speaking to Breitbart London last month, Washington’s ambassador to Berlin described the government’s failure as “woeful.”
“It is woeful; Germany is the largest economy in Europe,” he said. “They made a commitment to NATO, and they should be serious about that commitment; it is a multilateral institution that guarantees the allies, guaranteeing freedom.”
The report estimates that NATO countries spent almost one trillion dollars on defense on the military in the year 2018, although 70 percent of that spending came from the United States.
“We face a paradox,” he continued. “At a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond, we are actually doing more together … than ever before.”