In 2016, Estonia and Greece were the only NATO members in the European Union to reach the two per cent defence spending target, all other alliance members fell short of the goal.
According to the UK-based think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Greece spent 2.4% and Estonia 2.2% of its GDP on defence, making them the only countries to reach or exceed the defence spending target required by NATO.
The UK almost met the goal with 1.98%, and Poland – a country that in 2015 managed to spend 2.1% – only used 1.9% of its GDP on defence in 2016, according to the think tank’s Military Balance 2017 report.
One of the reasons the UK spent below 2% was that its economy grew faster in 2016 than its defence spending, the report noted.
In Poland’s case, the country’s 2.1 per cent expenditure in 2015 was partially due to one-off extra funds for the payment of F-16 aircraft.
Other NATO members in the EU have constantly fallen short of the two per cent expenditure goal. Germany, for example, said in a 2016 defence white paper that its government was determined to aim to spend 2% of its GDP on defence, but didn’t give a date when this goal would be reached. France, on the other hand, could reach the target by the end of 2022.
Cover: Estonians spectating the country’s Victory Day parade on 23 June 2013 (courtesy of Estonian Defence Forces.)