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    NATO States to Spend $946Bln on Defense in 2017, US Share to Top $683Bln

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    In 2017, the expenses of the member countries of the NATO for defense needs will amount to $945.96 billion compared to $920.11 billion in 2016, according to report.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The total defense budget of the 29 NATO member states will amount to almost $946 billion in 2017, and the United States will pay $683.4 billion of this sum, while the contribution of other members of the alliance will increase at the fastest pace in at least eight years, NATO said in its report Thursday.

    On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that the military spending of European member countries and Canada is planned to increase for the third consecutive year in 2017, and, according to preliminary estimates, expenditure growth will accelerate to 4.3 percent.

    In 2017, the expenses of the member countries of the alliance for defense needs will amount to $945.96 billion compared to $920.11 billion in 2016, the NATO report on defense expenditure in 2010-2017 says.

    In 2014, at the summit in Wales, NATO countries pledged to increase defense spending to 2 percent of GDP within 10 years, but these efforts gained momentum when Donald Trump was elected US President. Both during the election campaign, and after the victory, Trump criticized NATO allies for not paying enough for defense. At his first ministerial meeting in February, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called on partners to increase funding for defense needs if they did not want US obligations to the alliance to become more modest. Similar demands were made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a ministerial meeting in late March.

    The United States allocates far more than 2 percent of GDP for defense, standing at 3.58 percent in 2017. The other NATO members surpassing the two-percent ratio in 2017 are Greece with 2.32, the United Kingdom and Estonia with 2.14 percent each, Romania with 2.02 percent and Poland with 2.01 percent.

    During a May 2017 summit in Brussels, the allies decided to draw up annual national plans to increase their defense spending, fulfilling US demands and the decisions made in Wales. The first series of reports on the implementation of these plans will be ready by December, and in February 2018, it will be studied by the defense ministers of the NATO member countries.

    It is also noteworthy that the United Kingdom, Belgium and Turkey are the only three countries of the alliance to slash their military spending in 2017.

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