Taking into account the ongoing discussions on military budgets, I went back to the text approved at the NATO Summit of 2014, in Wales. The paragraph 5 of "The Wales Declaration on the Transatlantic Bond" is quoted below. It´s worth a careful reading of its words.
"We recognise that these steps will take the necessary effort and funding. In light of this, we agree to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets and aim to increase defence expenditure in real terms as GDP grows; we will direct our defence budgets as efficiently and effectively as possible; we will aim to move towards the existing NATO guideline of spending 2% of GDP on defence within a decade, with a view to fulfilling NATO capability priorities. We will display the political will to provide required capabilities and deploy forces when they are needed."
This commitment follows the recognition stated in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. I quote it as well.
"We will continue to invest in modern and deployable armed forces that can operate effectively together and at a high level of readiness to fulfil NATO's tasks, in full accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act."
And I would underline the following points:
- Interoperability and readiness are key dimensions in terms of greater joint effectiveness;
- Additional defence expenditure is linked to economic growth;
- Budget allocations should be reviewed to respond to new priorities and up-to-date military approaches and to ensure a more appropriate funding of the new roles of the armed forces as required by a new type of threats;
- The 2% goal is a guideline and it should be gradually build up to 2014; it cannot happen in the short term;
- The States must be willing to participate in joint operations and be perceived as able to rapidly respond to needs as they arise, taking into account the capabilities of each nation.
I also find the references to the UN Charter and to the Helsinki Final Act essential. They should be continuously recalled.