Trump: What does the US do for Nato in Europe?

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained that Europe’s Nato members are not spending enough on the alliance.

He believes the US should not have to bear the burden of funding the defence of the continent. Nato was set up 70 years ago as a collective defence system to guard against potential threats from the former Soviet Union. So with the US president visiting Europe in June, what does the US contribute towards maintaining Nato compared with the other 28 members?

The United States accounts for nearly 70% of the total spending on defence by all Nato members.

In terms of its GDP (gross domestic product, the total value of goods produced and services provided) it spent roughly 3.4% on defence in 2018, according to Nato estimates.

The point to remember is the US is a global military superpower, so has defence commitments not only in Europe but around the world.

One report by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated that direct spending by the US on European security accounted for less than 6% of its total defence outlay.

This includes money for running Nato as an organisation and for US defence activity in Europe – the costs of missile and other defence systems and military and civilian personnel stationed in the continent. This amount came to $35.8bn (£28.4bn) in 2018, says the IISS’s Lucie Beraud-Sudreau.

But she adds that in the event of a major crisis in Europe, the US may well draw on more of its $643bn total defence outlay to reinforce Nato. Läs artikel