The Secretary General thanked the United Kingdom for its enduring commitment to NATO and its leadership in Europe and beyond.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday to discuss preparations for the upcoming meeting of Allied leaders on 25 May.
In their talks, the Secretary General and Prime Minister May underlined the importance of fairer burden sharing and NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism. Mr. Stoltenberg noted that both issues will be high on the agenda for the meeting of NATO leaders and thanked the UK for leading by example on both fronts.
IISS director general John Chipman said:
“In 2016, only two European Nato states – Greece and Estonia – met the aim to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence, down from four European states that met this measure in 2015. The UK dipped slightly below this at 1.98 per cent, as its economy grew faster in 2016 than its defence spending.
Nonetheless, the UK remained the only European state in the world’s top five spenders in 2016.
If all Nato European countries were in 2016 to have met this 2 per cent of GDP target, their defence spending would have needed to rise by over 40 per cent.”
Recently, Labour MP Wayne David claimed that the 2% target was being met including retired personnel’s pensions, the government have so far declined to comment on this.
A press release cited British contributions to the alliance:
The Secretary General and Prime Minister May discussed what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism.
The Alliance is supporting the effort against Islamic State with AWACS surveillance planes and training for Iraqi forces, with strong UK support.
Mr. Stoltenberg also reportedly noted that strengthening local forces is essential in fighting terrorism, and NATO has untapped potential to do even more. He noted that NATO’s military authorities have requested a few thousand more troops for Afghanistan, and that decisions will be taken in the coming weeks.