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Norway pledges to meet NATO’s 2 pct. GDP defense spending target by 2026

Norway aims to raise its defense spending to at least 2 pct. of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2026, in line with a long-held goal among members of the NATO alliance, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said on Tuesday.

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Norway’s defense spending this year is expected to amount to 1.43 pct. of GDP, according to the government’s budget projections.

“The basis for the increasing of the defense budget by NOK 11 bn [approx. USD 11 bn] by 2026 is the analysis of [crude] oil and gas prices,” Støre stressed.

This marks a 10 pct. increase in defense spending.

The need to boost defense spending was justified by the PM with the commitments made due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The specifics of the spending plan during the NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

As the Norwegian media have pointed out, the homeland of NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, previously lacked a specific plan on how and when to meet the 2 pct. GDP target.

Norway’s spending on defense as a share of overall economic activity declined following the end of the Cold War, but the war in Ukraine has shown the need for a stronger military, the government said.

“We have to pay a higher insurance premium. We need to spend a greater share of our common resources on defense, security, and preparedness,” Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum told a news conference.

The Norwegian government announced the defense spending boost ahead of the release of a report prepared by a special commission tasked with assessing how to best secure the country’s security in the coming decades. Leaks suggest that the report, which will be released on Wednesday, May 3, is critical of the inadequate capabilities of the Norwegian military.

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