Spain allocated 1.09% of its GDP to military spending during 2022, which places it as the second NATO country that invested the least proportion in defense, only behind Luxembourg, according to provisional data published this Tuesday by the Alliance Atlantic. In 2021 Spain had allocated 1.04% of its GDP to military investment.
NATO’s annual report, with estimated figures for defense spending for 2022, indicates that the European allies and Canada invested an average of 1.65% of their GDP in the armies that year, a slight decrease compared to 1.67 % of 2021. The invasion of Ukraine has significantly altered the panorama and Spain announced in its 2023 budgets a 25% increase in military spending and expects to reach 2% between 2027 and 2029.
At the NATO leaders’ summit in Wales in 2014, it was agreed that members of the organization should move to allocate 2% of their GDP to military spending by 2024.
That objective is expected to be reviewed and updated at the summit that the Alliance leaders will hold next July in Vilnius, as the deadline set for Wales approaches and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the war back to the European continent. .
By Alliance calculations, only seven of the 29 allies with an army (Iceland does not have a standing army) met the 2% target by 2022. This was the case in the United States, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom. According to NATO figures, Luxembourg (0.62%) is the Member State that invests the lowest percentage of GDP in Defense.
The report indicates that the European allies and Canada increased their military spending for the eighth consecutive year, which grew by 2.2% in real terms between 2021 and 2022.
Since 2014, when they agreed to step up their efforts following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Canada and European NATO members have spent an additional $350 billion on defense.
“Since 2014, allies have increased defense spending and we are moving in the right direction, but we are not moving as fast as the dangerous world we live in demands,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. during a press conference in which he presented the report.
Stoltenberg considers it “obvious” that more needs to be done and done faster. In this sense, he says he hopes that at the Vilnius summit the allies will agree on a new “more ambitious” Defense investment goal, in which 2% of GDP is “a minimum”. He also believes that there is “an immediate need” to reach 2% because there has been a decade to reach that number. “I expect most of the allies to be able to get to 2% very quickly,” he said.
If there was “a need to increase” defense investment when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, last year’s all-out invasion shows that it is “even more obvious now,” the secretary-general has said. Thus, he believes that the new spending target to be agreed in Vilnius must take into account the “more dangerous” world today and the progress made in military investment in recent years.
“Many allies have announced significant increases in defense spending since the Russian invasion. Now these commitments must be turned into real cash, contracts and concrete equipment”, he has stated.
In absolute terms, Spain invested 12,695 million euros in Defense last year, above the 11,607 million allocated in 2021. As regards the proportion of Defense spending invested in military equipment, Spain meets the target set of reaching the less than 20% and reached 26.05% in 2022.
The United States, the ally that spends the most money on Defense in absolute terms (722,799 million dollars), last year allocated 3.46% of its GDP to military investment.
In total, the Atlantic Alliance calculates that the investment in Defense in 2022 was 1,052 billion US dollars, of which only 329,626 million dollars correspond to Canada and the European allies.
“Even if the war in Ukraine ended tomorrow, the security environment has changed for the long term,” Stoltenberg said. “Putin’s invasion last year was a shock, but not a surprise. It was the culmination of a pattern of aggressive action, and in response, since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has put in place the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense in a generation,” he added.