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NATO’s European allies spend more on defense for 3rd year, most miss US-backed goal

NATO’s European allies increased their spending on defense for the third successive year in 2017. However, their expenditure failed to lift more countries above a target sought by the US, Reuters said. President Donald Trump has demanded that the country’s allies dedicate two percent of national economic output to defense every year. The 29-member alliance’s 2017 annual report shows that Estonia, Greece, Poland and Britain met the two-percent goal – the same group that hit the target in 2016. Latvia, Lithuania and Romania could join these countries in 2018. Last year, defense spending in Europe, including Turkey, rose by 4.07 percent, or by $10.8 billion, compared to 2016. This marks almost a $50-billion cumulative increase since spending began to rise in late 2014, according to the report. Overall, NATO European allies and Canada combined spent an average of 1.45 percent of their economic output on defense in 2017, compared to 3.57 percent in the US.