NATO expects allies to maintain defence spending despite virus

BRUSSELS (HRNW) – NATO expects its members to keep up defence spending despite the economic turmoil caused by coronavirus, the alliance chief said Thursday, insisting they must maintain the ability to defend themselves.

The global pandemic has forced NATO to curtail or cancel some military exercises but Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said its capacity to ensure security in Europe and North America was not affected.

While acknowledging the “severe economic consequences” of COVID-19, Stoltenberg insisted governments must stick to their defence spending plans.

“When NATO allies decided to invest more in defence, they did so because we live in a more uncertain, more unpredictable world,” Stoltenberg said.

“This has not changed. So I expect the allies to stay committed to investing more in our security.”

Most NATO countries have struggled to hit their own agreed target of spending two percent of GDP on defence by 2024 — infuriating US President Donald Trump, who accuses them of freeloading on America.

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