November 16, 2016 / 7:56 PM / in 8 months

Denmark to up military spending, PM says after Trump call

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Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen is seen at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 10, 2016.Jacky Naegelen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark is ready to increase military and national security spending, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Wednesday after a phone conversation with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump criticised NATO allies during campaigning for the White House, saying they did not pay enough for their own defence and suggested the United States was paying a disproportionate amount.

Denmark spends about 1.2 percent of GDP on defence. NATO has set its members a target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence.

"The government is setting the stage for increasing spending on military and national security," Rasmussen said in a statement after the phone call.

Rasmussen, whose one-party government only holds 34 of 179 seats in parliament, called the conversation with Trump "friendly and constructive" and stressed that Denmark was a close ally of the United States.

He noted that Denmark was contributing to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq.

"We need a strong United States that will head the free world. I feel convinced that the United States will also in the future take on this role," Rasmussen said.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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