Trump Urges Nato Allies To Spend 4% Of GDP On Military Defence

BRUSSELS: US President Donald Trump told Nato leaders on Wednesday they should increase their defence spending to 4% of their country’s economic output, double the group’s current goal of 2%.

Nato allies shrugged off the demand as part and parcel of Trump’s brash push for allies to spend more on their own defence at a summit in Brussels, with a quip from the alliance’s chief that it should aim to meet its goal before reaching further.

“We should first get to 2%,” Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, adding that eight of the 29 allies were meeting that target, while others had a plan to do – turning a leaf on years of defence budget cuts.

Striking a strident tone at the summit, Trump’s aspirational target of 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) was above the United States own spending on defence.

The United States, the world’s biggest military power, spent some 3.57% on defence last year, according to Nato figures.

A White House spokeswoman said his remarks came as he was urging leaders to increase their outlays on defence and were not a formal proposal.

“He suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2% of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4%,” Sarah Sanders told reporters.

“Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations.”

A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron also played down Trump’s words as rhetoric, saying “it is not a new demand.”

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