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Is Nato’s 2 per cent target fit for purpose?

The defence spending measure is problematic when it comes to assessing military capability

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

In September 2014, Nato heads of state agreed at the Wales Summit to make an obligation out of what hitherto had only been a recommendation: to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Those who were spending less should undertake efforts to lift themselves to this level within ten years—by 2024. According to the IISS’ Military Balance 2018 report only two European countries met this spending target in 2017: Estonia and Greece cleared the bar at 2.1 per cent and 2.3 per cent…

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