18 Jun, 2024 @ 15:15
2 mins read

Spain comes rock bottom in latest NATO defence spending rankings and fails to make 2% target as overall alliance budgets surge 

SPAIN has been ranked last of the 32 countries in NATO for military spending in the latest data from the transatlantic alliance.

Spending just 1.28% of its GDP on its armed forces, Spain falls some way short of the 2% commitment all members agreed to in 2014.

It is a fall of just one place, having now been overtaken by the alliance’s other laggards of Slovenia, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

In 2014, Spain spent just €10 billion on its military – less than 1% of GDP. It is estimated to spend €20 billion in 2024, a 9% increase on last year.

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Spanish Army paratroopers grab a bite to eat before boarding helicopters near Jönköping, Sweden during NATO exercise Swift Response 24.

Spain aims to reach the 2% GDP target for military spending by 2029 and has pointed out to alliance partners its investment in military infrastructure, where it exceeds the average, and its contributions to NATO missions, according to allied sources. 

Overall, the alliance has seen a remarkable surge in defence spending, almost doubling 2023’s figures.

As of today, 23 out of 32 NATO members have reached or exceeded the 2% target, with Poland out leading in first place.

The east European country has more than doubled its military spending in the face of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. 

With fears that China could invade Taiwan this decade, added to the ongoing war in Gaza and instability in the Middle East, western countries are under pressure to re-arm.

The United States is, of course, the premier NATO defence spender, although it is the only country (along with Croatia) to see an actual drop in its year-on-year spending as a percentage of GDP.

Last year, only ten alliance members met the threshold, compared to just three in 2014 when the commitment was made at a summit in Wales. 

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Spanish frigate ESPS Numancia sails on the Mediterranean Sea during Exercise Dynamic Manta 23.

“Across Europe and Canada, NATO Allies are increasing defence spending this year by 18%,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Monday in Washington during a meeting with US President Joe Biden. 

“This is the biggest increase in decades,” he highlighted. 

“This is more than double what it was four years ago and it shows that European Allies and Canada are really stepping up and taking their share of the common responsibility to protect us all,” he added.

At a Vilnius summit a year ago, NATO leaders resolved that the 2% target should be considered a floor rather than a ceiling for defence spending. 

This topic is set to be revisited in July at a highly symbolic meeting in Washington, marking NATO’s 75th anniversary, with an eye on the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House after the November presidential elections.

It is feared in European halls of power that Donal Trump intends to take the USA out of NATO if he can regain the presidency.

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es

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