Finland's military spending rises to Cold War levels as it joins NATO
Finland witnesses its highest year-on-year increase in defense spending since 1962.
Finland's military spending has increased from 1.3 to 2% of GDP in a matter of years, fueled by a number of costly purchases.
Finland, which formally joined NATO earlier this month, has seen its highest year-on-year increase in defense spending since 1962.
Helsinki also witnessed the most drastic spending increase in the EU (36%), owing to a number of costly purchases, including a new fleet of 64 F-35 fighter jets from US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
The 10-billion-euro procurement was billed as the single largest splurge in the Nordic country's history.
During the late Cold War, Finland spent about 1.9% of its GDP on defense, but that figure dropped in the following years, reaching 1.1% of GDP in 2001.
Only two years ago, defense spending accounted for only 1.3% of GDP. However, Finland's outgoing five-party government, led by the Social Democrats, agreed to increase defense spending by more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) last year, citing hostilities in Ukraine as justification.
In doing so, Finland significantly outperformed its fellow European nations, such as Lithuania, Sweden, and Poland, which saw the next largest increases in their defense budgets of 27%, 12%, and 11%, respectively.
Despite NATO's 2% spending target, many nations fall far short of it. For example, Finland's neighbor Norway spent only 1.55% of its GDP. Its neighbor Sweden, with whom it filed a joint NATO bid only to split up later, has pledged to meet the bloc's military spending target "as soon as possible," whereas Denmark hopes to meet NATO's target within a decade, by 2033.
Meanwhile, global military spending reached a new high last year as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which pushed European nations and, more broadly, the West to spend at levels not seen since the Cold War. Last year, European military spending increased by 13%.