Dutch PM Rutte: Europe needs to increase military spending

Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivers a speech in Nieuwspoort, the Netherlands, 03 October 2019. Rutte spoke about the future of transatlantic relations and their role in Dutch foreign policy. [Koen Van Weel/EPA/EFE]

Europe needs to increase military spending to keep the transatlantic NATO alliance alive in the face of rising threats from Russia, China and elsewhere, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday (3 October).

Europe has no alternative to its alliance with the United States, Rutte said in a speech. “We can’t guarantee our own security. But Europe can and should do more.”

To protect NATO, Europe needs to heed the call of US President Donald Trump and increase military spending, the Dutch prime minister said.

Trump says NATO countries' burden-sharing improving, wants more

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (2 April) his pressure on NATO nations to pay more for their defence is leading to tens of billions of dollars more in contributions, but the allies may need to boost their budgets even more.

“We might not like it, but the days in which Europe could for a minimal fee find shelter under the American safety umbrella are over.”

NATO members in 2014 agreed they would increase military spending to 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024.

Dutch military spending has been increased by 25% since 2014, but still only reached 1.2% of GDP last year.

Rutte’s government plans to further increase spending on defence in the coming years. “But we have to be honest, that won’t get us at 2% by 2024,” Rutte said.

Global military spending in 2018 reached post-Cold War peak

In 2018, countries invested as much money in the military as they did in 1988, before the end of the Cold War, the latest data by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows.

World military expenditure is estimated to …

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