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Polish president Andrzej Duda calls on NATO members to raise defence spending to 3% of GDP

Warsaw is pressuring other NATO members to invest more in countering Russia’s war economy.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has called on NATO members to raise their spending on defence to 3% of their GDP, saying the alliance must do more to match Russia’s efforts to increase its own military spending as the war in Ukraine continues.

Duda’s remarks were directed both at home, in Poland, and abroad, to NATO’s fellow European members. They came right before he and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited Washington to mark the 25th anniversary of Poland’s accession to NATO.

Poland joined the alliance on March 12, 1999, together with the Czech Republic and Hungary.

“Poland is proud to have been a part of it for 25 years,” Duda said in a Monday evening address to his nation. “There has been and there is no better guarantor of security than the North Atlantic Alliance.”

‘Greater responsibility’

The Polish president said that as the war in Ukraine enters its third year, NATO countries should take “greater responsibility for the security of the entire alliance and intensively modernise and strengthen their troops”.

“In the face of the war in Ukraine and Russia’s growing imperial aspirations, the countries making up NATO must act boldly and uncompromisingly,” he added.

On Monday, NATO raised the flag of its 32nd member, Sweden, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Finland joined the alliance last year.

“Today, NATO is sending a clear and strong signal by welcoming Finland and Sweden into its ranks,” Duda said on Monday. “This is a historic event. Countries that have so far maintained a neutral status for years are joining the alliance. NATO is therefore significantly strengthened. However, further bold decisions are needed.”

‘Leading by example’

While NATO members agreed to increase their defence spending to 2% of GDP following Russia’s annexation of Crimea that same year, most members still fall short of that benchmark.

Poland, on the other hand, spends 4% of its GDP on defence, making it the member to spend the most in percentage terms as it modernised its military, while the U.S. is well above 3%.

Duda said that the two countries’ efforts put the US and Poland in a position to “lead by example and provide an inspiration for others.”

“The Russian Federation has switched its economy to war mode. It is allocating close to 30% of its annual budget to arm itself,” Duda argued in an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Monday.

“This figure and other data coming out of Russia are alarming. Vladimir Putin’s regime poses the biggest threat to global peace since the end of the Cold War.”

The Biden administration has suggested Duda’s goal of 3% for all NATO members might be overly ambitious, at least for now.

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