North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warns European Union over defense pact (2)

Even After Trump Criticism, UK Fails to Meet NATO Defence Spending Minimum Second Year Running

US Sounds Alarm Over EU Push for Deeper Defense Cooperation

Speaking at a press conference ahead of defense ministers meetings later this week, Stoltenberg said the topic of fair burden-sharing would be high on the agenda.

The NATO chief said the body had decided on the key elements of the new command structure.

The EU's so-called permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement, known as PESCO, has projects in view already to develop new military equipment and improve cooperation and decision-making.

"I briefed the Secretary General on Albania's engagement to allocate 2% of its GDP to the domain of defence by 2024 and I reconfirmed our readiness to be more involved in all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union missions or even in the new national mission which relates to civil emergencies", the Albanian minister said after the meeting.

The U.S.is expected to take responsibility for the Atlantic command, while Germany is best placed for the logistics hub. "By 2024, 22 allies are expected to invest 20 percent or more of their defense budgets on major capabilities, which is NATO's guideline".

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"Clearly NATO has reversed what was a downward trend, and so now we're well into the second year I believe, where the nations are spending more on defense", U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Sunday traveling with him to Europe.

Mattis will urge members who have not proposed a defense budget to do so quickly, letting them know the US cannot fund the fight against global threats alone.

"After years of decline, since 2014 we have seen three years of increasing defense spending across European allies and Canada".

The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization hailed its first annual review of members' defense-spending plans amid persistent US calls for European allies to foot more of the collective security bill. Thus, this defense pact will add to NATO's command structure and role rather than replace it. "So we've got to discuss it, so that's everyone carrying their share".

These words were a clear reaction to what Katie Wheelbarger, a senior official at the US Department of Defense, expressed last 11 February, according which Washington regarded some of the proposed initiatives as "pulling resources or capabilities away from NATO".

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