NATO insists on the two percent target, but only seven countries cracked the mark. Germany? Lags behind in defense investment.
Brussels – More money for armaments demanded: Despite the Ukraine war, many NATO countries are apparently still spending too little on their security. Most member countries missed the self-imposed target of spending two percent of economic output on defense. This emerges from the annual report 2022 of the North Atlantic Alliance, presented by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. Germany also failed to make the mark – despite the much-vaunted “turning point”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg therefore reprimanded him.
Defense spending: Germany is 18th in terms of GDP
After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the NATO allies agreed to “approach the two percent benchmark within a decade,” according to the Wales summit resolution at the time. According to the annual report that has now been published, Germany only invested 1.49 percent of its gross domestic product in defense in 2022. In 2021 it was 1.46 percent.
Overall, only seven of the 30 alliance members would reach the two percent mark: Measured in terms of their gross domestic product (GDP), the USA leads the list of defense spending with 3.46 percent and Greece with 3.54 percent. Lithuania, Poland, Great Britain, Estonia and Latvia are also above the two percent mark.
NATO summit: Two percent is to be set as the new lower limit
In relation to their economic output, 17 NATO countries spent more on defense than Germany last year – including countries like Albania, Romania and Norway. “Germany has made a clear commitment to meet the two percent target,” said Stoltenberg.
According to NATO, the increase in spending so far is making itself felt. “We’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not moving as fast as the dangerous world we live in requires,” he said. That requires an immediate change. “I expect that the majority of the allies can be at two percent very quickly,” said Stoltenberg and called for the two percent target to be set as the new lower limit at the NATO summit meeting in Lithuania in mid-July – from 2024.
Despite the “turning point”: Germany misses the two percent target
Shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a “turning point” in a Bundestag speech. German defense spending should therefore be “permanently increased to two percent of gross domestic product”. However, the announced 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr will probably not be invested until 2024. Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) also spoke out in favor of tightening the two percent target. This, although Germany has never been able to meet the target. (hk)
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