Government strikes deal to up defence spending to 2% of GDP
The Belgian government has unveiled plans to increase defence spending to 2% of national output by 2035. The greens long held out for concessions but a deal has now been struck linking the goal to a set of six conditions.
Together with its NATO partners Belgium earlier committed itself to spending 2% of GDP on defence. Government parties have now agreed how this will be achieved.
PM De Croo (Flemish liberal): “We are well aware that we are now in a new security situation. The war in Ukraine means European countries have partly shed our naiveness. Luckily we now form part of an alliance of more than 30 nations committed to joint defence. If you wish to enjoy this protection, you must contribute”.
The government earlier agreed to increase defence spending to 1.54% of GDP by 2030. Reaching agreement on the full 2% was difficult as the greens argued other more important challenges like reaching climate goals existed.
The six conditions on the deal include improved integration between European states, better co-operation and joint defence acquisitions.
Defence investments must benefit Belgian businesses. Defence expenditure must serve society as a whole e.g. investments in cybersecurity by the defence ministry that can benefit all. Extra defence spending mustn’t mean cutbacks elsewhere.