Photo Credit: courtesy, NATO Channel / screenshot
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg greets US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Brussels

NATO Head Announces Increase in Defense Spending

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged member states to step up their defense spending at a briefing Tuesday prior to a two-day meeting of 27 defense ministers in Brussels.

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Stoltenberg told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that defense spending among European allies and Canada rose in 2016 by 3.8 percent in real terms – an increase of some $10 billion, and one that was “higher than expected.

“After many years with steep cuts in defense spending we have turned a corner,” he said. “Today I can present to you new updated figures for 2016. Defense spending in real terms has increased by 3.8 percent among European allies and Canada. This is significantly higher than what we had originally foreseen, and it amounts to roughly $10 billion more for our defense.

“That makes a difference but it’s absolutely vital that we keep up the momentum.”

He underlined that defense spending and fair burden sharing will be on the agenda at this week’s two-day meeting of the defense ministers, and added that “defense spending” has been the main topic in his two telephone conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“He has strongly expressed his strong commitment to NATO, to the transatlantic bond, but at the same time…underlined the importance of fairer burden sharing,” Stoltenberg said.

During this ministerial meeting we will also focus on the fight against terrorism and threats stemming from the Middle East and North Africa, he said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.