June 22, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, called out NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) ally countries for failing to meet their promised goal of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense, despite past and present threats to the alliance.
“In 2014, at the NATO Summit in Wales, NATO members agreed to get to 2% GDP spending by 2024, yet despite an invasion by Russia of Ukraine and Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling, nearly ten years later, we only see seven NATO members that have reached that goal of 2%,” said Ricketts during the hearing. “Many of the heavyweight economies that have $1 trillion in GDP – notably Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – have not reached that goal. Italy’s defense spending in particular sits at [1.51%] of GDP and Italy said it would not meet the 2% threshold until 2028.”
Ricketts called on NATO countries to fulfill their spending commitments to provide a more effective deterrent against further aggression by Russian leader Vladimir Putin and other adversaries like Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Next month, Vilnius, Lithuania will host a NATO Summit where defense spending is expected to be discussed.
“We need to see this promise translated into action,” Ricketts continued. “Of course, we’ve got the Vilnius summit coming up next month for NATO and it really is important that our NATO partners reach this goal. It’s literally depriving the alliance of tens of billions of dollars in defense (spending) that could be used toward deterrence. We really need to see this happen.”
Ricketts’ comments came during questioning of Jack Markell, the former Governor of Delaware, President Biden’s nominee to be the Ambassador to Italy, in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Watch the video HERE
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