Newest NATO member Finland to spend 2.3% of GDP on defence

Finland plans to spend 6 billion euros on defense, which is above the 2% NATO minimum.

By Reuters - August 28, 2023
FILE PHOTO: A Finnish soldier operates a towed 155 mm field gun during Northern Forest land force exercise in Rovajarvi, Finland May 30, 2023. REUTERS/Janis Laizans/File Photo

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)