NATO member Romania will spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense until 2026, according to a procurement plan. That would make it only the sixth of NATO's 28 members meeting the target.
Romania plans to spend a total of 9.8 billion euros ($11.3 billion) on upgrading its military until 2026, the eastern European NATO member's top defense body agreed on Tuesday.
The figure locks Romania's military spending at 2 percent of GDP over the next decade, meeting a key commitment of NATO members.
Romania met the target for the first time this year, making it only the sixth NATO member alongside the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Poland to hit the benchmark.
US pressures allies
US President Donald Trump has pressured all 28 alliance members to meet the NATO commitment by 2024 in line with the defense alliance's pact.
He has suggested that if NATO members fail to meet the target the United States would reassess some of its commitments.
Trump drew criticism and concern at a NATO summit in May for not reiterating the United States' commitment to the alliance's Article 5 mutual defense clause that says an attack against one member is an attack against all.
Nearly two weeks after the summit in Brussels, he finally committed the United States to Article 5 during a early June press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House.
Romania, Poland and the Baltic states are some of the United States' strongest Eastern European allies concerned about a resurgent and aggressive Russia.
Romania to buy Patriot system
Romania hosts an $800 million US missile defense site, part of a larger missile shield that the United States says is designed to protect Europe from missile threats from Iran and non-state actors.
Russia has long been angered over the defense shield, arguing it aims to give the United States a missile advantage and violates previous defense treaties between the two rivals.
Separately, Romanian Defense Minister Adrian Tutuianu said last week that Romania would buy Patriot missiles worth $3.9 billion after the United States approved the sale in July.
Romania's parliament still needs to approve the purchase.
cw/kms (AP, Reuters)