Nato de­fence spend­ing shake-up

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BRUS­SELS: Europe’s Nato mem­bers and Canada will jointly raise de­fence spend­ing 4.3% this year, Nato sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg said yes­ter­day, partly aimed at show­ing the US they are com­mit­ted to shoul­der­ing more costs.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump used his first al­liance meet­ing last month to scold Euro­pean lead­ers about spend­ing, which is at his­tor­i­cal lows and does not meet Nato’s goal of 2% of GDP.

This year’s hike rep­re­sents the fastest spend­ing growth since cuts stopped three years ago.

Growth was 1.8% in 2015 and 3.3% last year.

How­ever, it was un­clear how near the new in­crease would take spend­ing to the al­liance’s tar­get.

Over­all spend­ing this year was about $280 bil­lion, a cu­mu­la­tive $46bn jump since cuts left Europe with­out vi­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, such as re­fu­elling air­borne fighter bombers.

Only four of Nato’s 27 Euro­pean mem­bers – Greece, Bri­tain, Poland and Es­to­nia – met the spend­ing tar­get last year.

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