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Europeans Split on Boosting Defense Spending to Meet NATO Targets - Poll

© REUTERS / Francois LenoirNATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds up a ceremonial hammer at the start of a NATO-Georgia defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 16, 2017.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds up a ceremonial hammer at the start of a NATO-Georgia defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 16, 2017. - Sputnik International
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A total of 53 percent of Italians believe that their country should not increase its defense spending in accordance with NATO rules, while in France and Germany less than half are in favor of reaching NATO spending targets, an IFOP poll for Sputnik showed Thursday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On May 25, US President Donald Trump said at a NATO summit in Brussels that the other members of the alliance should pay their "fair share" and pointed out that only five of the member states were allocating 2 percent of their GDP to defense, which is the target set at the 2014 summit in Wales.

According to the survey, 53 percent of Italians, 47 percent of Germans, and 35 percent of French do not want the defense expenditures to grow.

© SputnikOpinions of Europeans split on boosting military sdending in accordance with NATO rules
Opinions of Europeans split on boosting military sdending in accordance with NATO rules - Sputnik International
Opinions of Europeans split on boosting military sdending in accordance with NATO rules

At the same time, 44 percent of French, 36 percent of Germans and 31 percent of Italians are in favor of the increase.

In the United Kingdom, which, unlike the other three countries, allocates more than 2 percent of its GDP to defense, 54 percent of respondents supported maintaining military spending at the same level, while 25 percent were against it.

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According to the poll, respondents younger than 35 in France and the United Kingdom are less likely than those who are older to want higher defense expenses, while in Germany and Italy, the situation is the opposite.

The survey was carried out on April 21-25 among 2,302 respondents, aged 18 and older.

Only a handful of NATO members have reached the 2-percent target as of 2016. The United States is the top spender, allocating over 3.6 percent of its GDP on defense, followed by Greece, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Poland. The remaining 23 members are below target.

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