NATO Spending Increases For Sixth Consecutive Year

Jens Stoltenberg also discussed the pressing threats to the alliance posed by Russia and China.

The NATO Secretary General has said the alliance's spending increased in 2020 for the sixth consecutive year.

Presenting his annual report, Jens Stoltenberg said: "Despite the economic effect of COVID-19, 2020 was the sixth consecutive year of increase in defence spending across EU allies and Canada, with an increase in real terms in 2020 of 3.9%."

The increase in 2019 was 3.6% in real terms.

Mr Stoltenberg also revealed the results of NATO polling in all 30 member states.

He announced that 62% of NATO citizens would vote for their nation to remain a member of the alliance.

"Polling also showed broad agreement with the principle of collective defence and with the fact that NATO membership makes an attack by foreign nations less likely," he added.

The flags of the NATO alliance outside its HQ in Brussels 061120 CREDIT NATO TV
Mr Stoltenberg announced a defence spending increase for the year 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic (Picture: NATO TV).

Mr Stoltenberg also spoke about new US President Joe Biden, saying he welcomed his "clear commitment to rebuilding alliances and strengthening NATO".

"We now have an opportunity to open a new chapter and we must seize it to set an ambitious and forward-looking agenda at our NATO summit later this year."

Mr Stoltenberg highlighted where potential threats to NATO might come from, mentioning Russia's "more assertive" stance against neighbouring countries and "cyber attacks against NATO allies".

He spoke about the rise of China and how Russia and China are "working more closely, conducting military exercises together".

Next week, foreign ministers from across the alliance will meet for further discussions about how to meet future challenges.