Money Issues Dominate NATO Summit Agenda in Brussels

For the second time in a row, Brussels is hosting the annual NATO leaders’ meeting. The problems being discussed by the alliance members are virtually the same as last year, with military spending being among the key problems.

The leaders of the 29 NATO member states started to arrive in the alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels around noon. Erecting the compound at Boulevard Léopold III, which was built in the form of interlocked fingers to symbolize unity, became a necessity in the 1990s, when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization started growing rapidly and accepting new members, including former Warsaw Pact countries.

The new building seems like the perfect place for the summit’s “theatrics,” with reflections of NATO’s flying war machines on the shiny glass and metal structure.

But the alliance’s military power was hardly the main topic of discussion. Most the leaders who stopped to talk to journalists before the summit mentioned money issues.

In 2014, all NATO member states agreed to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their militaries. But while countries like the UK and the US paid significantly more than they were obliged to (the 2018 estimates are 2.10 percent and 3.50 percent respectively, according to NATO statistics), others, such as Belgium and Spain, are still below 1 percent (both spend 0.93 percent each, according to a July 10 NATO report.)

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