The US president, Donald Trump, dined on 4 December, while attending the NATO summit in Watford, the United Kingdom, with the eight NATO countries that contribute two per cent or more of their GDP to their defence – including Estonia.
“These are the eight countries, plus us – plus the United States – that are fully paid,” Trump said at the beginning of the lunch. “We call them the two-percenters. Some day we’ll raise it to three per cent or four percent.”
“These are the countries that have not been delinquent; they’ve been, in some cases, even more than two per cent because they feel so strongly about what we’re doing,” the president added. That’s really a sign of respect for the United States.”
Trump also thanked “these great countries” and noted that unfortunately, many of the NATO allies have not met the two per cent goal. He also called NATO a “great organisation”, even though in the past he’s called NATO “obsolete”.
Pledge to meet the target by 2024
“I wanted to take the two-percenters to lunch,” Trump said at the table, adding that the lunch was on him. “Thank you all.”
The NATO countries that spend two per cent or more of their GDP on defence are Estonia, the US, the UK, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Romania.
NATO’d guidelines advise all its member states to spend two per cent of their GDP on defence. In 2014, following Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, all NATO members pledged to meet the 2% target by 2024.
The 2019 NATO summit, held in Watford, the UK, north of London. is the 30th formal meeting of the heads of state and heads of government of the alliance.
Cover: Trump dines with the leaders of the eight NATO countries that fulfil their 2% obligation (The White House).