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NATO chief: Europe needs more defense spending

May 15, 2014

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — NATO’s secretary general is pushing European countries to invest more in defense to better cope with crises such as the Ukraine conflict, but some governments remain resistant.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told participants in a security conference in Slovakia on Thursday that NATO members that don’t spend enough on defense risk being “free-riders.”

He told reporters later that “every ally is expected to play its part toward contributing to our shared security.” He says the Ukraine crisis shows “we have to invest more in defense.”

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he would try to increase military spending toward the 2 percent of gross domestic product that NATO wants, but said it’s a “very sensitive issue” as his country tries to keep the deficit down.

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