NATO Members Ramp Up Defense Spending After Pressure From Trump

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization members boosted expenditures last year, with 11 countries meeting a defense-spending target championed by the U.S.

The military budgets of NATO’s European nations and Canada increased to an estimated 1.73% of gross domestic product in 2020, up from 1.55% in 2019, the alliance said in an annual report released on Tuesday.

France and Norway joined the nations that meet NATO’s 2% goal, according to the report. Germany’s defense expenditure expanded to 1.56% from 1.36%. The U.S. led the group with 3.73%.

Relations in the alliance were strained during Donald Trump’s administration, with the former U.S. president frequently hectoring European countries for not spending enough on military outlays. Total spending on security topped more than $1 trillion for the second year.

NATO Members Ramp Up Defense Spending After Pressure From Trump

Under President Joe Biden, relations between the the U.S. 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. At the same time, relations with Russia remain tense, with both the EU and the U.S. initiating sanctions on NATO’s old sparring partner. China is also becoming a growing threat for the institution.

“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. “And the shift in the global balance of power caused by the rise of China is part of that.”

The U.S. still accounts for more than 70% of NATO’s combined defense expenditure, while total spending across the alliance increased 3.9% in real terms from 2019, according to the alliance.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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