by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers
This week, NATO Defence Ministers will take decisions to continue modernising our Alliance.
To ensure our deterrence and defence remains effective, we need to keep investing in our security.
So we will address our progress on burden-sharing.
Today, we are releasing for the first time figures for 2019 defence spending.
And I can announce that the real increase for 2019 is 3.9% across European Allies and Canada.
So we now have five consecutive years of growth in defence spending.
By the end of next year, European Allies and Canada will have added a cumulative total of well over one hundred billion dollars since 2016.
And, as you can see, more Allies are reaching our goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence.
This year, we expect 8 Allies to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defence.
Up from just 3 Allies in 2014. This is a good trend. And we expect this to continue. The majority of Allies have plans to reach 2% by 2024.
In this slide, you see the increase for each individual Ally. When you look at the percentages, most Allies have increased their defence spending by double-digits since 2014. You have all the details in the press release.
We are also investing in more new capabilities. This year, 16 Allies are expected to meet the benchmark of at least 20 percent of defence spending devoted to major equipment. Almost all Allies have plans to do so by 2024.
And Allies are stepping up with more forces for NATO missions and operations.
This is impressive progress. And a sign of commitment.
So NATO is on the right track. But we must keep up the positive momentum.
We will also address Russia's continuing violation of the INF Treaty. Russia has until 2 August to verifiably destroy its SSC-8 missiles, which violate the Treaty.
The United States and other Allies have tried to engage with Russia about their new missile system for years, including in the NATO-Russia Council.
We are planning to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council next week to raise this issue again. We call on Russia to take the responsible path. But unfortunately, we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so. In fact, it continues to develop and field the new missiles.
And there are just five weeks left for Russia to save the treaty.
So tomorrow, we will decide on NATO's next steps, in the event Russia does not comply. Our response will be defensive, measured and coordinated. We will not mirror what Russia does. We do not intend to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.
We do not want a new arms race. But as Russia is deploying new missiles, we must ensure that our deterrence and defence remains credible and effective.
This is NATO's job.
Effective deterrence and defence also means staying ahead of the technological curve. Including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and next-generation communications.
So ministers will discuss:
- How NATO's defence planning process will be used to ensure Allies are investing in new technologies;
- How joint capability development provides access to cutting-edge capabilities which individual Allies could not afford alone,
like next-generation NATO surveillance drones and planes;
- And how NATO sets standards to ensure our forces can operate seamlessly together.
We are also updating our guidelines for resilient infrastructure, including telecommunications.
We will be joined by our partners Finland and Sweden, as well as EU High Representative Mogherini.
Because these technologies raise challenges and opportunities for us all.
And this could be a promising area for future NATO-EU cooperation.
Ministers will also approve NATO's first-ever space policy.
Creating a framework for how NATO should deal with the opportunities and challenges in space, for Alliance security and operations.
Space is part of our daily lives.
And while it can be used for peaceful purposes, it can also be used for aggression.
Satellites can be jammed, hacked or weaponized.
Anti-satellite weapons could cripple communications.
So it is important that we are vigilant and resilient – also in space.
NATO can serve as a key forum.
Bringing Allies together to share capabilities and information.
Afghanistan will also be an important point on our agenda.
With a meeting of all nations contributing to our training mission.
While the security situation remains serious, we see a unique opportunity for peace.
Allies fully support U.S. efforts to reach a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
And our continued commitment,
both with forces and funding, is key to creating the conditions for peace.
Finally, we will host a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
The Coalition has made remarkable progress.
Retaking all the territory once held by ISIS terrorists.
Now we must ensure that they do not come back.
This is why NATO's training mission in Iraq is so important.
And why we will continue our efforts together with Allies and partners in the Global Coalition.
And with that, I'm ready to take your questions.