09/01/2014 Defence IQ News
Barack Obama and David Cameron are set to lead calls for European leaders to increase defence spending at this week’s NATO summit in Wales. NATO demands member states spend over 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence but few other than the UK adhere to these criteria. Following a turbulent 2014 that saw Russia annex Crimea, increased violence in Gaza and the renewed militant threat in Iraq and Syria, Obama and Cameron will use the NATO summit as a platform to ask members to take security more seriously.
According to last year’s World Bank figures, the UK spends 2.3% of GDP on defence while France also hits the 2% threshold with military spending at 2.2% of GDP. Germany (1.3%), Netherlands (1.3%), Spain (0.9%), Italy (1.6%) and Denmark (1.4%) all fall short of the NATO requirement.
Lord Dannatt, a former head of the Army, decried Europe’s unwilling to invest in its security and defence capabilities.
“The sad fact is that with the exception of a small number of European Nato member states — which include the UK and France principally — the vast majority of the armed forces of other European states lack real usable capability and their governments often lack the political will to fund their armed forces properly,” Dannatt said in The Telegraph.