NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg published his annual report on Monday, showing how in 2016 the Alliance, “took further steps to keep our almost one billion citizens safe.”
The report highlights how NATO is adapting to the new security environment by strengthening its collective defence and projecting stability beyond its borders, nato.int reports.
Stoltenberg explained how the Alliance has turned a corner on defence spending. In 2016 twenty-three Allies increased their defence expenditure in real terms by 3.8 %, which added up to ten billion US dollars. The Secretary General confirmed only five Allies spent 2% or more of GDP on defence in 2016. He said, “It is realistic that all Allies should reach this goal. All Allies have agreed to it at the highest level and it can be done.”
Mr Stoltenberg pointed out European Allies together spent 2% of GDP on defence as recently as the year 2000. He was encouraged that Romania plans to reach 2% this year and both Latvia and Lithuania expect to do the same in 2018.
The Secretary General encouraged Allies to redouble their efforts on defence spending and said it would be a key focus at the upcoming meeting of NATO leaders, the same source reads.
Last month, Stoltenberg congratulated Romanian for its effort to increase defence spending to 2% of the GDP, romania-actiaitati.ro informs. He had also stressed that Romania will host a multinational brigade to strengthen the NATO presence in south-eastern Europe.