NATO chief says US needs allies after Trump suggests abandoning laggards

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

NATO said on Wednesday that Europe had increased its spending on defense and the United States needed allies, days after former US president Donald Trump suggested that Washington might not protect countries that did not spend enough.

“I expect 18 allies to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense this year,” Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Brussels, adding overall military spending was set for another record year after two years of Russia’s full-fledged war against Ukraine.

The number was higher than last year, when 11 of NATO’s 31 members were expected to reach the agreed target.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Trump shocked Europeans on Saturday by implying that he would encourage Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to NATO allies who did not spend enough.

Addressing journalists’ questions linked to the controversy around Trump’s comments ahead of a NATO ministers’ meeting, Stoltenberg said the United States knew how important the defense alliance is for its own security.

“The United States have never fought a war alone,” he said.

“The criticism we hear is not about NATO, it is about NATO allies not spending enough on NATO,” he added, saying the new hike in military spending by European allies was proof this message had been heard.

NATO’s European states would invest a combined total of $380 billion in defense this year, Stoltenberg added.

In a historic first since the end of the Cold War, Berlin will meet the 2 percent target this year for the first time.

The German government is allocating the equivalent of 71.8 billion euros ($76.8 billion) for defense spending in the current year through regular and special budget outlays. However, the sum of its total defense spending is classified.

In 2023, eleven allies are expected to have met the 2 percent target according to prior NATO estimates - Poland, the United States, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Britain and Slovakia.

Read more:

Republicans blast Trump over threat to abandon NATO allies in case of Russian attack

‘NATO cannot be an alliance a la carte,’ EU’s Borrell says

Top European officials criticize Donald Trump’s NATO comments

Top Content Trending