1707998438 In France military spending will reach 2 of GDP in

In France, military spending will reach 2% of GDP in 2024, the target set by NATO

Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu upon his arrival at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a meeting of alliance defense ministers on February 14, 2024. Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu upon his arrival at NATO headquarters in Brussels for a meeting of the alliance's defense ministers on February 14, 2024. JOHN THYS / AFP

“France will reach the 2% target [du PIB] “The opportunity given by NATO in this year 2024,” said French Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu on Thursday, February 15, shortly before the start of a meeting of defense ministers of the Atlantic Alliance in Brussels.

The Law on Military Programming 2024-2030, announced last August, stipulated that this goal should be achieved by 2025 with spending of 413 billion euros over the next seven years. “The real question now is not so much about preserving that 2%, although it is a topic that seems to fascinate many people, but rather about ensuring that that 2% of GDP is really useful in the military field.” added Mr. Lecornu on Thursday.

The minister also confirmed that France would deliver 78 Caesar guns to Ukraine this year and said he had met with EU Defense Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton to discuss ways to develop capabilities to produce gunpowder or Ammunition to be tested in Europe.

Ukraine, which is poor in ammunition, is demanding that deliveries be accelerated as promised by the West. But the blockage in the US Congress of aid promised by the US and delays on the European side forced the Ukrainians to save on ammunition in the face of the much better equipped Russian armed forces. “We are already seeing the impact of the fact that the United States was unable to make a decision,” Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

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18 countries will reach this goal in 2024

Since 2006, the alliance's member states have set a goal of increasing their military budget to at least 2% of each member's GDP. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, the member states made this goal clear: the aim was then to get “closer” to 2% by 2024 without this rule becoming binding.

By the end of 2023, only eleven of the thirty-one members had kept their promise. France is still slightly below (1.9%), Germany even further (1.6%). However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that seven more countries would reach the 2 percent mark in 2024.

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The United States welcomed the fact that this goal was achieved by eighteen member countries this year, just days after Donald Trump's attacks on the alliance's poor payers in Europe. “I think it's extremely important,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters after Stoltenberg's announcement.

Le Monde with AFP and Portal