Jens Stoltenberg expected in Ottawa for discussions with the Canadian Prime Minister

Jens Stoltenberg expected in Ottawa for discussions with the Canadian Prime Minister
Jens Stoltenberg expected in Ottawa for discussions with the Canadian Prime Minister

A few weeks before the NATO summit in Washington, the secretary general of the alliance Jens Stoltenberg will visit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon.

The arrival of the secretary general comes at a time when Ottawa ranks among the eight countries still devoting less than 2% of its GDP to its military spending, alongside countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The members of the alliance unanimously agreed to devote at least 2% of their GDP to defense within ten years after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. This objective, all the more important in the context of the war led by Russia in Ukraine, has increased the threat of an extension of the conflict in Europe, according to Jens Stoltenberg.

Canada is currently at approximately 1.37% of its GDP, according to the most recent NATO estimates.

During a visit to Washington on Monday, Mr. Stoltenberg announced that 23 member countries of the alliance would reach the military spending threshold set at 2% or more of their GDP this year. Only six countries reached this goal in 2021.

The secretary general said he expected that at the summit next month, “European Allies and Canada will offer increased financial and military support.”

Earlier this year, the secretary general welcomed Ottawa’s updated defense policy, which planned to increase its military spending to 1.76% of GDP in 2029-2030, but said he expected the Canada is indeed achieving this objective.

Some countries are also concerned about the possible return of former President Donald Trump to the White House, who has said he would not defend allies who fail to meet their military spending goals.

As part of his visit, Mr. Stoltenberg will also deliver a speech at an evening event organized by the Canadian NATO Association. His last visit to Canada dates back to August 2022.

NATO leaders will gather in Washington July 9-11 for an annual summit marking the 75e anniversary of the alliance.

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