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5 Apr, 2024 10:46

Poland calls for 50% increase in minimum spending for NATO

President Andrzej Duda has urged bloc members to set aside at least 3% of their GDP to counter Russia
Poland calls for 50% increase in minimum spending for NATO

Polish President Andrzej Duda has sent a formal letter to the leaders of fellow NATO states, urging them to boost the minimum spending requirement for collective defense, the Rzeczpospolita news outlet reported on Thursday.

In a statement issued after a meeting in Brussels to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the signing of NATO’s founding document, Duda argued that the current minimum military spending threshold of 2% of GDP, which was established in 2014, was “no longer enough.” He suggested boosting it to 3% and claimed the proposal was “the basis for the consistent development of security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area.”

The Polish leader insisted that the bloc must take this “natural and fundamental step” in order to counter Russia’s supposed “imperial policy,” and as a response to growing tensions in the Middle East and the Pacific. 

Duda also suggested that the US and the UK should not be the only NATO countries to have powerful armies, claiming that “the times of peace are over,” and that all bloc members should increase their military potential and focus on equipping their armed forces with the most modern technological capabilities.

His statement comes as Warsaw announced plans to double the size of its military by 2035 in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The country has also ramped up its defense spending this year to more than 4% of its GDP in response to what Duda has called “the emerging danger beyond our eastern border.”

NATO’s spending guidelines have been a sticking point among its members in recent years, as most states have failed to meet the 2% minimum. As recently as 2014, only three NATO countries had met the target. 

Former US President Donald Trump has even suggested over the course of his 2024 election campaign that the US shouldn’t protect any NATO states that fail to contribute sufficient resources for their own defenses.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps also claimed in a recent interview with The Telegraph that any NATO members that do not spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense were playing “Russian roulette,” and suggested that the West had moved “from a post-war to a pre-war world.”

While numerous Western leaders have recently warned that Russia could attack NATO within a few years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed such claims as “utter nonsense” designed to “beat the money out” of the populations of Western countries.