Johnson calls on NATO countries to increase their military budget
United Kingdom–In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will encourage his NATO members to increase their defence expenditure during a summit in Madrid, according to his office on Tuesday.
NATO member states committed to spending at least 2.0 percent of their GDP on defence after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 in order to maintain the preparedness of the alliance by 2024.
Only eight of the 30 NATO members achieved or exceeded this goal in 2021, but some countries, including Germany and Italy, increased their defence spending this year as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.
Johnson will address the NATO meeting in Madrid on Wednesday and say, “We need friends — all allies — to invest deep to restore deterrence and ensure defence in the decade ahead.”
Allies must continue to step up during this crisis because “the two percent was always designed to be a floor, not a ceiling,” he would add. The British prime minister stated during the flight to Madrid that “a conversation within NATO” is required over a new goal for defence spending after 2024.
The British government stated in a statement that NATO “must adapt to confront new and growing threats” with “long-term investment” and a willingness “to surge defence spending to react to emergencies and urgent demands.”
At the conference, Johnson will also reveal that the UK will increase its military presence in Estonia, a small country bordering Russia, with more potent weaponry and air defence.
Since Russia’s incursion, Britain has provided Ukraine with significant military assistance costing £1.3 billion (1.5 billion euros). The opposition and several MPs in his own party, however, have blasted Johnson for breaking his election-year vow to increase military expenditure in 2022 above the rate of inflation, which is anticipated to reach over 10% this year.
According to British press sources, his defence secretary Ben Wallace has pushed for the defence budget to be increased to 2.5 percent of the British economy by 2028.