On 14 March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented his Annual Report for 2018. The Report, he says, “shows that NATO continues to modernise”. The story of NATO in 2018 is one of an Alliance responding to the the challenges of today, adapting to the challenges of tomorrow, and investing in the future.
To keep us all safe, Allies are “doing a lot more together – in more ways and in more place – than ever before”, said the Secretary General. They are strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, boosting their cyber defences, fighting international terrorism, deepening partnerships, and much more.
The Report shows that defence spending among European Allies and Canada increased by almost 4% from 2017 to 2018, and that in the period from 2016 to 2018, they have contributed an additional cumulative spending of over 41 billion dollars. “We expect that figure to rise to 100 billion dollars by the end of next year”, said Jens Stoltenberg.
In 2018, seven Allies reached the 2% defence spending guideline, up from three in 2014. A majority of Allies is also spending more than 20% of their defence expenditure on major equipment and according to 2018 national plans, 24 Allies will meet the 20% guideline by 2024.
The Report also shows that Allies continue to make valuable contributions to NATO’s operations, missions and other activities. The Secretary General indicated that there are “more than twenty thousand troops serving from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kosovo, the Baltic countries, and Poland.”
Looking ahead to the events marking NATO’s 70th anniversary – the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Washington D.C. in April, and the Leaders’ Meeting in London in December, the Secretary General stressed that “we must continue to stand strong together”. “Standing with unity and resolve”, he added, “NATO will remain a pillar of stability for generations to come”.