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Next EU presidency: nations moving toward NATO spending goal

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas answers questions by The Associated Press during an interview in, Tallinn, Friday, June 2, 2017. The nation which will hold the European Union presidency as of next month says that the "very bad, very negative" decision of President Trump to pull the United States out of the global climate agreement will force the 28-nation bloc to take a stronger lead on the issue. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The leader of the next European Union presidency says that several EU nations which were publicly scolded by U.S. President Donald Trump about their defense expenditure will be reaching a key NATO target next year.

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday that NATO nations spending 2 percent of gross domestic product could almost double from the current five to possibly nine by the end of 2018, including two other Baltic nations, Latvia and Lithuania.

Pressed by a United States taking on most of the spending in the 28-nation alliance, NATO set the 2-percent target for its members to move toward by 2024.

Estonia, Britain, Poland and Greece are already hitting the mark.

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