NATO

NATO: Which Countries Make Up The Alliance?

NATO was formed by 12 nations in 1949 to deter the expansion of the Soviet Union and has more than doubled in size since.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, known as NATO, is an alliance of 30 member countries. 

The Republic of North Macedonia was the latest addition in 2020.

Each member country contributes a percentage of its national defence budget to NATO to pay for running costs, including the integrated military command structure across NATO territory.

There is no NATO military but when called upon, allied nations volunteer their troops, equipment or other capabilities to NATO-led operations and exercises.

The treaty sets out the idea of 'collective defence', meaning an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all.

It aims to ensure the security of its European member countries is linked to that of its North American member countries.

All member nations are represented at the North Atlantic Council at the political and operational headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

To be eligible for membership, a country must be from the Euro-Atlantic area, follow democratic principles and contribute to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.

Thirty nations make up NATO (Picture: NATO TV).

New members can be invited to join NATO with the unanimous agreement of the existing allies.

Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance's spending increased in 2020 for the sixth consecutive year.

The US remains the alliance's biggest contributor, spending an estimated 3.73% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, with the UK in fourth.

Below is the list of NATO's 30 members, their estimated defence spending of GDP and an estimated population from 2019.

Albania

Albania spends 1.29% of its GDP on defence.

It has a population of 2.8 million.

 

Belgium

Belgium spends 1.07% of its GDP on defence, making it second from bottom in contributions. 

It has a population of 11.46 million.

It is home to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and the Communications and Information Services Group (CIS GP).

The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is based in Belgium.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria spends 1.6% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 7 million.

 

Canada

Canada spends 1.42% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 37.58 million.

 

Croatia

Croatia spends 1.83% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 4.07 million.

 

Czech Republic

Czech Republic spends 1.34% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 10.6 million.

 

Denmark

Denmark spends 1.43% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 5.8 million.

 

Estonia

Estonia spends 2.33% of its GDP on defence, making it the alliance's third-highest contributor in terms of share of GDP.

It has a population of 1.32 million.

FRANCE French NH90 transport helicopter flies past the Eiffel Tower 110719 CREDIT PA
France spends 2.04% of its GDP on defence, according to recent estimates from NATO (Picture: PA).

France

France spends 2.04% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 67 million.

 

Germany

Germany spends 1.56% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 83 million.

It is home to the Allied Air Command (AIRCOM).

 

Greece

Greece spends 2.68% of its GDP on defence, making it the second-highest contributor in terms of share of GDP. 

It has a population of 10.7 million.

 

Hungary

Hungary spends 1.85% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 9.77 million.

 

Iceland

Iceland does not have any armed forces and has not been featured on NATO’s latest list of GDP defence spending. 

It has a population of 356,991.

German soldiers with the NATO flag (Picture: PA).

Italy

Italy spends 1.39% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 60.3 million.

It is home to one of the Joint Force Commands in Naples.

 

Latvia

Latvia spends 2.27% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 1.9 million.

 

Lithuania

Lithuania spends 2.13% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 2.79 million.

 

Luxembourg

Luxembourg spends 0.57% of its GDP on defence, putting it at the bottom of the list as the only nation with an estimated GDP spend below 1%. 

It has a population of 613,894.

 

Montenegro

Montenegro spends 1.72% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 622,182.

 

Netherlands

Netherlands spends 1.49% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 17.2 million.

It is home to one of the Joint Force Commands in Brunssum.

North Macedonia joined NATO in 2020 (Picture: Jens Stoltenberg/Twitter).

North Macedonia

North Macedonia spends 1.27% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 2.07 million.

 

Norway

Norway spends 2% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 5.3 million.

It is home to the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC).

 

Poland

Poland spends 2.31% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 37.9 million.

It is home to the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC).

 

Portugal

Portugal spends 1.59% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 10.2 million.

It is home to the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC).

 

Romania

Romania spends 2.07% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 19.4 million.

 

Slovakia

Slovakia spends 2% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 5.4 million.

 

Slovenia

Slovenia spends 1.1% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 2.08 million.

Turkey spends 1.86% of its GDP on defence (Picture: PA).

Spain

Spain spends 1.17% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 46.9 million.

 

Turkey

Turkey spends 1.86% of its GDP on defence. 

It has a population of 82 million.

It is home to the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM).

 

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom spends 2.32% of its GDP on defence, making it fourth in the list of proportional spending.

It has a population of 66.6 million.

It is home to the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM).

 

United States

The United States tops the list spending 3.73% of its GDP on defence.

It has a population of 328.2 million.

It is home to the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Headquarters (HQ SACT).

Cover image: NATO's Dynamic Mongoose exercise in 2020 (Picture: Royal Navy).