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The issue

NATO countries are supposed to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

The facts

The NATO agreement to have member countries fund their own military with 2% of GDP is in place so that each country can defend itself without relying too much on other members — but of 28 NATO members, only five meet this requirement.

Expand chart
Data: Defence Expenditures of NATO Countries (2009-2016), Diplomacy Division; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Romania pledged an increase in defense spending that is expected to bring it above 2%. Poland, which already meets the 2% line, pledged in October to increase the country's defense spending to at least 2.5% of GDP. NATO expects Latvia to meet the threshold by next year. Denmark expects to increase its spending to 1.3% of its GDP by 2023. Hungary expects to meet the 2% threshold by 2026. Canada is set to increase its defense budget to 1.4% by 2025. Slovenia said this year it would start increasing defense spending for the first time since 2010.

Why it matters

Donald Trump has criticized NATO as being "obsolete," though since becoming president he's softened his tone. Defense Secretary Mattis on his first trip to Europe warned NATO countries to meet their defense spending goals or the U.S. might "moderate its commitment" to the alliance.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

2 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.