Sharing the burden of keeping Europe whole, free and at peace

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As NATO prepares for a meeting of Allied heads of state and government in Brussels on 25 May, the debate on burden-sharing is heating up considerably. Both before and after entering office as 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump has harshly criticised various NATO Allies for not spending enough on defence. In fact, this reinforced longstanding US complaints about the tendency of many Allies to hitch a free ride on the back of the global US defence effort. Has the day of reckoning for European security now arrived? It is clear that many Allies must do more, however, the burden-sharing debate should be grounded in rigorous analysis. We must keep in mind the object of the burden that must be shared: a European continent that is whole, free and at peace. This requires not only sufficient financial resources, but also credible common defence plans.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationNATO Review
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2017


  • NATO
  • burden-sharing
  • Europe


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