NATO has published detailed information on the defense expenditures of its member nations for 2007. The figures underline the enormous differences in defense spending between the various nations.
Probably the most telling figure is the defense expenditure as a percentage of each country's gross domestic product. NATO recommends that this should be at least 2%.
Compared to this target, Belgium, Hungary and Luxembourg are absolutely at the bottom of the class, spending just 1.1%, 1.1% and 0.7%, respectively, of their GDP on defense.
Three of Belgium's rapidly-aging, albeit mid-life updated, Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs. The country spends just 1.1% of its gross domestic product on defense, almost 50% below the figure recommended by NATO. Photo: Morten Granhaug/RNoAF
Lithuania and Spain are not much better, with 1.2%.
Canada, Denmark and Germany each spend just 1.3% on defense -- even though all three have a significant military presence in Afghanistan.
Norway is next spending 1.4%, while the Netherlands and Portugal both spend 1.5% of their GDP.
The Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia follow with 1.6%.
1.7% is the figure achieved by Latvia and Slovakia.
Italy is spending 1.8% while Poland and Romania are managing 1.9%.
These are all NATO members that are not willing to spend the recommended 2% on defense.
Only six NATO nations are meeting (in fact all of them exceeding) the norm. They are led by the U.S. who are spending 4.0% of their GDP on defense.
The other big spenders (still in relative terms) are Greece (2.8%), Turkey (2.7%), France (2.4%), Bulgaria (2.3%) and the UK (2.3%).
See our related post on what this really means in actual terms.
For the complete statistics, visit this site.
Romanian air force personnel service one of their Israeli-modernized MiG-21 Lancer fighters at the recent Bold Avenger 07 exercise in Norway. Romania spends 1.9% of its gross domestic product on defense, narrowly missing the 2% target recommended by NATO. Photo: Gerhard Kuehner/NATO