European allies of the U.S. pledged to increase their share of defense spending on Wednesday, July 11, as NATO leaders signed a declaration to commit to a "balance of sharing." The signed statement followed a rather tense discussion led by President Trump about a proposal for allies to double their military spending.
Earlier this week, NATO leaders, including the U.S., have signed a statement declaring their commitment to "improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of alliance membership," according to Fox News.
The renewed commitment to previously agreed-upon military spending shares came after Trump pressed NATO member countries about the goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products. As it stands right now, just 15 members of the organization, or around half, are set to meet that goal by 2024 based on projections.
Trump has also brought up a proposal to double military spending targets to 4 percent of GDP, according to the Wall Street Journal. This statement came about as Trump took the organization to task about the 2-percent goal, with the President criticizing Germany over its gas deal with Russia.
Aside from doubling military spending to 4 percent GDP, Trump has floated the idea of moving forward the goal of 2 percent of GDP military spending from the original 2024 target to some time immediately, as well.
"Everybody asked themselves how serious Trump is about the 4%," Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said about the stiff reaction of NATO leaders to the new proposal.
As of the latest defense spending estimates, just five countries so far are contributing 2 percent or more of their GDP to mutual military protection. The U.S. is joined only by Greece, Estonia, the U.K. and Latvia in having achieved the 2 percent target, with Poland barely failing to hit the mark.
After the NATO summit, Trump will head on to London for a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.