Newest NATO member Finland to spend 2.3% of GDP on military
PHOTO CAPTION: A Finnish Army Joint Tactical Air Controller (JTAC) observes the impact area of joint fires during exercise Dynamic Front 22 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 14, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Randis Monroe
HELSINKI (Reuters) - NATO's newest member Finland plans to spend 2.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence next year, its defence ministry said on Monday.
In July, NATO's 31 member-nations agreed to spend a minimum of 2% of their GDP on defence. Previously the 2% target had been a goal to aim for over time and only seven allies met the target in 2022, according to NATO.
Finland joined the alliance in April, in a historic security policy U-turn in response to neighbouring Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
It said it planned to spend 6 billion euros ($6.48 billion), or 2.3% of its GDP, on defence in 2024, which is some 116 million euros less than the estimate for 2023.
Finland's defence spending has increased significantly in recent years, even before it became a NATO member, because it is replacing its ageing fleet of F/A-18 combat jets with F-35 fighter jets.
Finland is also spending on military aid to Ukraine, with the total value of its military equipment donations reaching 1.3 billion euros last week.
"From the point of view of the future security order of Europe and Finland, it is a core issue that Russia's aggressive efforts can be dammed in Ukraine," defence minister Antti Hakkanen said in a statement to announce the latest donation. ($1 = 0.9255 euros)
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Alex Richardson)