During the NATO Wales summit of 2014, NATO members agreed an aim to move towards a 2% of GDP guideline for defence spending within a decade, with a view to meeting their NATO Capability Targets and filling NATO’s capability shortfalls. With economy cuts some countries actually reduced their spend since 2014. However, only 5 members currently (2016) spend 2% or more, and 5 members spend 1% or less. Opinion: there is no reason to think Scotland would be expected to spend any more than the NATO European average, currently 1.46% of GDP.
Defence spending by percentage of GDP for 2016
Albania 1.21% Belgium 0.85% Bulgaria 1.35% Croatia 1.23% Czech Republic 1.04% Denmark 1.17% Estonia 2.16% France 1.78% Germany 1.19% Greece 2.38% Hungary 1.01% Italy 1.11% Latvia 1.45% Lithuania 1.49% Luxembourg 0.44% Netherlands 1.17% Norway 1.54% Poland 2.00% Portugal 1.38% Romania 1.48% Slovak Republic 1.16% Slovenia 0.94% Spain 0.91% Turkey 1.56% United Kingdom 2.21% NATO - Europe 1.46% Canada 0.99% United States 3.61% North America 3.36% NATO - Total 2.43%
Download the excel tables on the right hand side of that NATO page, look at Table 3, and the column for 2016.
Funding of NATO
Member countries make direct and indirect contributions to the costs of running NATO and implementing its policies and activities.
- Indirect – or national – contributions are the largest and come, for instance, when a member volunteers equipment or troops to a military operation and bears the costs of the decision to do so.
- Direct contributions are made to finance requirements of the Alliance that serve the interests of all 28 members – and are not the responsibility of any single member – such as NATO-wide air defence or command and control systems. Costs are borne collectively, often using the principle of common funding.
- Within the principle of common funding, all 28 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on Gross National Income, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget.
- Common funding arrangements are used to finance NATO’s principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities).
Direct funding of NATO (Common funding)
Cost share valid from 1/1/2016 to 31/12/2017: UK = 9.8485%. The civil budget for 2016 is € 222 million. The military budget for 2016 is € 1.16 billion. 2016 ceiling for NSIP (NATO Security Investment Programme) € 690 million. Total € 2,072 million, UK share € 204 million = £182 million (£1 = €1.12). Opinion: Scotland's 1/12th population share for 2016 = £15.2 million.
and click on “Direct Funding of NATO” to open it up. Note this is by GNI not GDP.
The “Open Door”.
Any European state which can contribute to the security and principles of the Alliance can be invited to join. On 19 May 2016, Allied Foreign Ministers signed the Accession Protocol for Montenegro. Following the signature of the Protocol, Montenegro has ‘Invitee’ status, allowing its representatives to participate as observers in Allied meetings. Once all 28 Allies have ratified the Accession Protocol Montenegro can then accede to the Washington Treaty and become a full member of the Alliance. Currently, three further countries aspire to NATO membership: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Allies assess each applicant country according to its own merits. A wide range of political, economic and security reforms need to be implemented before any country can join.
Opinion: Scotland as a part of the UK would be an unusual case for NATO members to consider, as though we are part of the UK membership, we would need to accede in our own right. It seems likely that Scotland would pass political and economic criteria, but that security would need to be assessed before intelligence sharing and full accession.