Sharing the burden of keeping Europe whole, free and at peace

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 05.05.17
Publication Date 05/05/2017
ISSN 0255-3813
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As NATO prepared for a meeting of Allied heads of state and government in Brussels on 25 May 2017, the debate on burden-sharing was heating up considerably. Both before and after entering office as 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump harshly criticised various NATO Allies for not spending enough on defence. In fact, this reinforced longstanding US complaints about the tendency of many Allies to hitch a free ride on the back of the global US defence effort.

Has the day of reckoning for European security now arrived? It is clear that many Allies must do more, however, the burden-sharing debate should be grounded in rigorous analysis. We must keep in mind the object of the burden that must be shared: a European continent that is whole, free and at peace. This requires not only sufficient financial resources, but also credible common defence plans.

The author of this article is Professor Dr Alexander Mattelaer, the director of European Affairs at Egmont – the Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels.

What is published in NATO Review does not necessarily represent the official position or policy of member governments, or of NATO.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Meetings of NATO Defence Ministers, 15-16 February 2017
ESO: Background information: Who Defends Europe? Time to Get Real on Sharing the Burden
ESO: Background information: Burden Sharing and NATO’s 2 Percent Goal

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