HL Deb 02 November 1998 vol 594 cc15-6WA
Lord Wallace of Saltaire

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the current formula for assessing national contributions to the NATO common budget; and what are the current national shares of the budget; and [HL3487]

How frequently the formula for calculating national contributions to the NATO common budget is reassessed; and [HL3488]

Whether they are satisfied that the British share of the NATO common budget is appropriate, in terms of population, GNP per head and the comparable contributions of other European Union member states to the common defence. [HL3489]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

NATO has three common-funded budgets—the Civil Budget (which is applied largely to meeting the costs of the Alliance's political HQ in Brussels), the Military Budget (which covers the costs of NATO's military HQ and agencies) and the NATO security and Investment Programme (which funds common-user infrastructure such as communications facilities and air defence systems).

The percentage contribution that each ally makes to each budget depends on a variety of factors, including capacity to pay and whether it participates in the alliance's integrated military structure or in certain common-funded programmes; all allies contribute to the Civil Budget.

The cost shares for current allies were determined in the 1950s, broadly based on the basis of allies' capacity to pay. They are not subject to regular review, although there have been adjustments, for example in 1982 to take account of the accession of Spain. In 1997 the contributions of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were assessed on the basis of their capacity to pay and factors such as their projected economic growth. The UK's contribution is consistent with our role as a leading European member of the alliance.

I am arranging for tables showing the current cost shares for each budget to be placed in the Library of the House.