Stoltenberg to visit NATO’s largest contributor

Jens Stoltenberg NATO Secretary-GeneralNATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Martial Trezzini/Keystone/AP

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, is visiting the United States this week, where President Donald Trump has threatened drastic cuts in funding transfers to the defence alliance.

Stoltenberg arrived in Washington on Monday, and on Tuesday he meets defence chief, James Mattis.

The Trump administration wants European NATO countries to contribute more to the defence alliance, in which the United States, according to the last overview, contributes roughly 22 % of the budget.

Germany contributes around 14.6 %, France, over 10.6 %, and the UK approximately 9.8 %. Norway are far down the list, contributing approximately 1.7 % of NATO’s operational budget.

According to a press release from NATO, there will be ‘a more equitable burden-sharing,’ which will be one of the main topics of Stoltenberg’s conversation with Mattis.

President Donald Trump claims that US allies owe NATO huge amounts; a claim rejected by the European side. Mattis has threatened to weaken the United States’ obligations in the alliance if the Europeans do not put more money on the table before the year’s end, but has been vague about what this will eventually entail.

‘Germany owes no debt to NATO’, said the country’s Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, with great certainty last weekend.

Wales resolutions

Von der Leyen also emphasized that Germany, like the other NATO countries, are bound by the decision made at the summit in Wales of 1994, to spend at least 2 % of GDP on defence up until 2024.

The United States tops the list today, using just over 3.6 % of GDP on defence, but they are also in a unique position. 23 of NATO’s 28 member states currently use less than 2 %.

Norway uses, according to the last review of NATO’s budget in the current period, 1.49 % of its GDP on defence, and risks an increase to the defence budget of almost 50 % to reach the target set in Wales.

A long-term Initiative that was recently passed in Parliament, estimates that 1.57 % of GDP will go to defence in 2020.

Stoltenberg has repeatedly urged NATO countries to rearm and comply with the decisions of the Wales summit, but the defence budget as adopted, does not suggest that this will happen anytime soon.

During his three-day visit to Washington, Stoltenberg will also participate when Secretary Rex Tillerson joins a gathering of countries participating in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS). Foreign Minister, Børge Brende (Høyre), will be participating as the Norwegian representative.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today