Boris Johnson is expected to tell NATO members to “dig deep” and prepare for a more dangerous decade of mounting threats.
The first full day of a NATO The summit begins Wednesday in Madrid, Spain, where allies will discuss NATO’s future as it tries to agree on a plan for a new decade of growing threats.
In his speech, Boris Johnson will urge member states to invest more in defense modernization, warning that this decade will be more dangerous and competitive than the last.
NATO members commit to spending at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, but only nine of the 30-member alliance meet that requirement.
The UK has achieved that goal every year since its inception and Mr Johnson will say: “The NATO alliance keeps our people safe every day. But over the next 10 years, the threats around us will only increase.
“We need allies – allies allies – to dig deep to restore deterrence and ensure defense over the next decade.
“The 2% was always meant to be a floor, not a ceiling, and allies must continue to grow in this time of crisis.”
The UK’s defense spending is expected to reach 2.3% of GDP this year, largely thanks to the aid Ukraine has received since February.
UK expands presence in Estonia
The Prime Minister will also announce that the UK’s military presence in Estonia will be strengthened, a decision that comes just days after NATO announced plans to increase the number of troops on high alert by 650%, from 40,000 to 300,000.
According to officials, a greater presence in Estonia would allow the UK to provide rapid reinforcements if necessary.
“We are working with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on what we can do to support Estonia more, to help them operationally.
“A close political and military partnership is under way. Our commitment to Estonia, as well as our commitment to all our NATO friends, is absolute,” Johnson said.
At home, however, the prime minister has been criticized for the level of the army’s funding, with the new army chief, General Sir Patrick Sanders, saying further cuts to the army would be “perverse”.
The British Army will shrink from a target of 82,000 to 72,500.
Sweden and Finland are one step closer to membership
On the eve of the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan . said a blockade lifted on the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO, an important boost for the alliance.
Till Tuesday, Turkey had opposed the moveinsisting that the Scandinavian countries should change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups it considers terrorists.
However, an agreement was reached that paved the way for Finland and Sweden.
Johnson is expected to meet with the leaders of Turkey and the two Scandinavian countries in the margins of the summit on Wednesday.
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The UK had supported Swedish and Finnish bids to join the alliance.
Johnson said they broke “decades of historic neutrality” to join the organization, demonstrating that the alliance was “in good health.”
“Membership of Sweden and Finland will make our brilliant alliance stronger and more secure,” he said.