By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – NATO countries need a “more ambitious” defense investment target than the current 2% requirement to meet the modern security challenges, the alliance’s chief said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference presenting NATO’s 2022 Annual Report, Jens Stoltenberg said he “will advocate in favor of a more ambitious pledge” of defense investment at NATO leaders’ summit in July in Vilnius, Lithuania than the one allies committed to in 2014.
In 2014, NATO countries agreed to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
According to Stoltenberg, the 2% pledge has been perceived “as something we should strive towards, more like a kind of a ceiling.”
“But now we should refer to 2% more as the floor and minimum,” he stressed.
Russia’s full-fledged war on Ukraine made the “security situation even more dangerous and even more challenging,” Stoltenberg said.
He welcomed that NATO countries have been raising their defense spending for eight consecutive years, but underlined that this pace of increase is not high enough.
“We need to do more, we need to do faster” as the world is getting more and more dangerous, Stoltenberg asserted.
However, only seven countries of the 30-member alliance have spent 2% or more of their GDP on defense last year, according to the Annual Report.