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NATO allies commit to spend ‘at least’ 2% of GDP on defence: diplomats

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NATO allies have reached agreement to raise the alliance’s target for military spending to at least two per cent of national GDP, two diplomats told Reuters late on Friday.

The 31 allies agreed on “an enduring commitment to invest at least two per cent” of their GDP into their militaries in the future, two diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity and confirming an earlier report by German news agency DPA.

Agreement on the new spending target was one of the outstanding issues ahead of a two-day NATO summit on Tuesday and Wednesday next week in Vilnius.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg intended to make NATO’s current military spending target of two per cent of national GDP a minimum requirement rather than a goal to aim for.

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In 2023, even the old target will be met by only 11 of the 31 members of the alliance, according to NATO estimates. The goal was set in 2014, when NATO leaders agreed to increase spending towards two per cent of their GDP on defense within a decade.

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The 11 allies in question are the United States, Britain, Poland, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia.

Bringing up the rear are Canada, Slovenia, Turkey, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg, whose defense spending was under 1.4 per cent of GDP.

–Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis

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