The Belgian government agreed a few hours before a NATO summit to inject an extra billion euros in its defence forces, on top of 10 billion euros ($10.98 billion) already agreed, according to Belgian newspaper l'Echo, a move prompted by the war in Ukraine.
The new investments aim at reinforcing the Belgian defence by 2030, including developing a cybersecurity unit in the Belgian army, replenishing stocks of fuel and munitions, military equipment and supplies and improving intelligence and communication systems, the paper said.
NATO member states are supposed to contribute more than 2% of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) annually. Belgium is currently spending 1.2% and this will increase to 1.54% with the latest investments.
The Belgian army is looking to recruit 2,500 soldiers in 2022, to reinforce the ranks of its military, currently standing at around 25,000 people.
($1 = 0.9106 euros)
(Reporting by Marine Strauss, editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten)