Belgium is set to allocate 1.24% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to defence in 2024, announced Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder on Tuesday. This marks the fourth consecutive rise in

the defence budget, highlighting the country's commitment to bolstering its security measures.

The projected percentage exceeds the initial expectations due to Belgium's decision to allocate 611 million euros in military aid to Ukraine next year. However, it falls slightly below the 1.26% previously outlined for 2024, a variance attributed by the minister to fluctuations in GDP.

Despite this increase, Belgium's defence spending still falls short of the NATO guideline of 2%. The country aims to work towards this benchmark by 2035, with an interim target of 1.57% by 2030.

Challenges and Diplomatic Concerns Compared to NATO members situated closer to Russia, Western European nations, including Belgium, are noticeably behind in defence spending. Recent forecasts indicated Poland's defence budget reaching 3.9% of GDP by 2023, highlighting the disparity.

Belgium's comparatively low spending in defence may pose diplomatic challenges in the near future, warned Alexander Mattelaer, an expert in Belgian Defence, during an interview with VRT. Mattelaer emphasized, "Our country faces increasing diplomatic pressure due to inadequate investment in Defence measures." Photo by U.S. Secretary of Defense, Wikimedia commons.