Published: Tue, March 14, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

Canadian defence spending among lowest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation despite small increase past year

Canadian defence spending among lowest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation despite small increase past year

"We still do not have fair burden sharing within our alliance", he said in an annual report released by the alliance.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO allies cut defence spending only to find themselves caught out by Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members' overall increase in defense spending past year masks sizable differences among individual countries, highlighting the risk of persistent tensions as U.S. President Donald Trump presses Europe to foot more of the common security bill. But Europe has sought to reverse the falling numbers since its neighbour Russian Federation annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 by setting the target for defence spending at 2 percent of each member state's economic output.

His administration has repeatedly pressed the allies to meet a pledge to spend two percent of GDP annually on defence by 2024.

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France came in at 1.79 percent, a tad below 2015, while Germany stood a 1.2 percent, just up from 1.18 in 2015.

Romania expects to reach the requirement this year, and Lithuania and Latvia both expect to do so in 2018, according to the report.

Trump suggested during election campaigning that he might not defend allies who fail to meet the target, rattling the 28-nation military alliance, particularly countries bordering Russian Federation.

That compares to 1.47 percent for NATO's European allies last year and 1.44 percent the year before.

Critics cite the example of Germany, now on 1.2 percent of GDP but an increase to 2.0 percent would put Berlin's defence budget on a par with Russia's at around 65 billion euros.

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