In a speech delivered this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg advised that after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, 80 percent of NATO’s defence spending will come from nations outside the EU.
“This is partly about military might. After Brexit, 80% of NATO’s defence expenditure will come from non-EU Allies. And Germany will be the only EU member leading one of NATO’s battlegroups in the east of the Alliance.
It is also about geography. From Norway in the North, to Turkey in the South, and the US, Canada and the UK in the West. All are key to keeping Europe safe.
I say all of this knowing that many of you may be thinking about the disagreements, differences and divisions among NATO Allies. Over trade, energy, climate change, Iran. And most recently over the situation in northeast Syria. We have had serious differences before. From the Suez Crisis in 1956. To the Iraq War in 2003. But at the end of the day, we have always been able to unite around our core task. To protect and defend each other.
NATO is the only platform where Allies from Europe and North America sit down on a daily basis. To discuss difficult issues affecting our shared security. And to keep our almost one billion citizens safe.”
The Secretary General used the above speech to advise against relying on the European Union instead of NATO to defend Europe. Offering caution, Stoltenberg added:
“Any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the transatlantic Alliance, it is also risking dividing Europe itself. European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity. I strongly welcome efforts to strengthen European defence. Which can enhance capabilities and burden sharing within NATO.
But the European Union cannot defend Europe.“
Read the Secretary General’s full speech here.