NATO Chief Urges Countries to Keep Up with Defense Spending

NATO Chief Urges Countries to Keep Up with Defense Spending

Stoltenberg told reporters, as he released his annual report on the world's biggest military alliance, that countries still do not have fair burden sharing within the alliance.

A new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation report says Canada's defence spending increased in 2016, but that the country remains near the back of the pack when spending is expressed in the military alliance's preferred measure: as a percentage of GDP.

The NATO annual report said only five countries met the two percent target - the United States, Britain, Greece, Poland and Estonia - while Washington still accounted for almost 70 percent of combined alliance defence spending. But it still remained below the threshold the new U.S. President Donald Trump said was crucial to achieve.

- All NATO members agreed in 2014 to spend two per cent of their gross domestic product on defence. But Europe has sought to reverse the falling numbers since its neighbour Russian Federation annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 by setting the target for defence spending at 2 percent of each member state's economic output.

In 2016, defense spending within the USA -led alliance rose 3.8 percent or $10 billion (9.3 billion euros), according to findings - reversing the downturn in 2015 and past year.

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France came in at 1.79 percent, a tad below 2015, while Germany stood a 1.2 percent, just up from 1.18 in 2015.

Stoltenberg said Romania was due to meet the target this year, with Lithuania and Latvia expected to follow in 2018.

Stoltenberg's report, part of his drive to mollify Trump, shows that European allies and Canada spent a total of roughly $10 billion more on defense a year ago in real terms than in 2015.

Germany increased defense outlays to 1.20 percent of GDP previous year from 1.18 percent, while Spain fell to 0.90 percent from 0.93 percent and France slid to 1.79 percent from 1.80 percent.

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