Analysis 26 May 17

Balkan States Struggle to Meet NATO Benchmark

While NATO states have all confirmed their commitment to boosting defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP, for most Balkan countries, that represents a challenge.

BIRN Team
Sofia, Bucharest, Podgorica, Zagreb
Balkan leaders at the NATO summit in Brussels. Photo: NATO

Blasting "chronic underpayments" at NATO, US president Donald Trump on Thursday again called on member nations to pay their "fair share" for the alliance and meet their financial obligations.

At a high-level meeting in the Brussels, Trump said that NATO members must contribute their fair share after revealing that 23 of the 28 member nations, including the soon-to-be member Montenegro, are not paying the agreed equivalent of 2 per cent of their GDP.

All Balkan NATO member states – Croatia, Albania, Romania and Bulgaria - currently contribute less than the benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP, although Romania has now rectified this for 2017.

Low spending on defence was one of the key issues in the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s address on Thursday. He conceded that total spending across Europe and Canada had, however, increased by billions of dollars in 2016. 

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