Trump is not happy with Hungary’s defense budget

Last year Donald Trump gave an interview to The Washington Post editorial board. He said: “NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe, but we’re spending a lot of money. Number one, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed.” Later he told the New York Times: “NATO is unfair, economically, to us, to the United States. Because it really helps them more so than the United States, and we pay a disproportionate share.” Just recently President-elect Trump claimed that only five countries contributed to the NATO budget “what they were supposed to.” In addition, he called NATO “obsolete.”

Trump is not happy with NATO and not satisfied with Hungary’s defense spending either.

All NATO members have accepted guidelines that member states should target at least 2% of their GDP on defense. Of the 28 countries in the alliance, only five meet the goal — the U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia and the U.K.

The U.S. spends the highest proportion of its GDP on defense: 3.61%. The second biggest NATO spender is Greece, at 2.38%. Five larger NATO countries spend less than 1%: Canada, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, while tiny Iceland spends just 0.1% of its GDP.

NATO spending by member state in 2016. Click to enlarge.

According to NATO’s official report, Hungary’s defense spending is one of the lowest in the alliance: about 1% of the country’s GDP. Hungary’s spending is also the lowest among the Visegrad 4 countries. (Poland 2.00%, Slovakia 1.16%, Czech Republic 1.04%, Hungary 1.01%.)

Hungary accounts differently for some defense costs and in local currency the country spends about 350 billion Ft on defense; only 0.94% of the GDP.

The US President-elect made it clear that he expects that NATO members spend at least 2 percent which would mean that Hungary would have to double (!) its defense budget. In other words, the county will have to spend an additional 350 billion Ft. Needless to say, that this would have a devastating effect on Hungary’s spending on education, health and social services.

Trump thinks that the majority of the NATO members, Hungary among them, are cheating. They are getting a free ride on US expense; he and his supporters are angry.

To read the details of the NATO report, click here.

György Lázár


  1. I do not see the point of quoting Trump or his intentions (which scatter 360 degrees and are almost all deplorable).

    And what interest is there in a list in which Hungary is next right beside Canada?

    More reflection is needed before posting.

  2. Lázár, in your obsessive hatred of Orbán and the Fidesz, you know no boundaries – Harnad has spotted the obvious in your copy-pasted chart…..

    • Hatred for Orban ? Let me join please.
      Hatred for this mafia is a patriotic thing as nobody has damaged the nation more since Ràkosi and has plundered it more since Osman rule.

      Therefor my hatred is not obsessive, but well founded and sustained by the deplorable regime’s deeds. By now my cherished little hatred has grown huge, I’m afraid.

  3. Well, if Donald Trump sticks to his threat of forcing NATO members to live up to their end of the deal (ie: contribute 2% of their GDP to defense), then Gyorgy Lazar’s prediction is bang on: Orban will have to siphon away funds from health care, education, welfare programs and also his megalomaniac stadium construction projects. How long will the Fidesz underlings stay loyal when there’s no more money to spread around?

  4. I think, that ignoring Trump’s outlandish comments is more harmful than quoting them. His approach to woman – grab’em by the pussy – should be repeated until finally people wake up to the reality of what kind of person they elected to the highest political post in the world.

    The chart Lázár reproduced for us on military spending per capita in each of the Nato countries is informative. There will be heated debate on military spending, including Canada, and thanks mainly to Trump’s published remarks. Lázár’s post does not deserve Harnad’s backhanded dismissal. More reflection is needed before posting.

  5. Theoretically doubling the military spending to 2% will raise the budget deficit above 3%, blocking the EU subsidies which Orban can’t afford.

    If Trumps insist on the increase Orban will simply lie and cheat as usual until the 2018 elections. After that the deluge …. black water (fake the leves) will hit the country.

  6. Sorry it’s “fekete leves” – too diligent a spell checker.

  7. Avatar Kalasz Musztafa says:

    Observer stop talking nonsense about Osman Empire. The Ottoman government contributed Hungary more than the Communists. Its was the west like the French, Germans, English, Americans that destructed Hungary.

  8. Avatar Kalasz Musztafa says:

    Regarding Hungary’s defense spending and NATO member, wouldnt Hungary be much better off being neutral like Switzerland, and not butting our Hungarian nose into everyone’s political business? Maybe alliance with Russia and the east seems bad but so is the west. Maybe we should pull back and do our own things things instead.

  9. Kalasz Musztafa

    Cretin, as per the above.

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