NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference to presents the Alliance's 2020 annual report in Brussels, Belgium March 16, 2021. (YVES HERMAN / POOL / AFP)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization members boosted expenditures last year, with 11 countries meeting a defense-spending target championed by the US.
The military budgets of NATO’s European nations and Canada increased to an estimated 1.73 percent of gross domestic product in 2020, up from 1.55 percent in 2019, the alliance said in an annual report released on Tuesday.
Relations in the alliance were strained during Donald Trump’s administration, with the former US president frequently hectoring European countries for not spending enough on military outlays
France and Norway joined the nations that meet NATO’s 2 percent goal, according to the report. Germany’s defense expenditure expanded to 1.56 percent from 1.36 percent. The US led the group with 3.73 percent.
Relations in the alliance were strained during Donald Trump’s administration, with the former US president frequently hectoring European countries for not spending enough on military outlays. Total spending on security topped more than US$1 trillion for the second year.
Under President Joe Biden, relations between the the US and the European Union have thawed, and the two sides agreed to suspend trade tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s products earlier this month.
“The threats and the challenges we face in this region are more and more global,” said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Secretary General, told lawmakers in Brussels on Monday.
The US still accounts for more than 70 percent of NATO’s combined defense expenditure, while total spending across the alliance increased 3.9 percent in real terms from 2019, according to the alliance.
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