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2019.10.09 09:30

Lithuanian government to spend 2.02 percent of GDP on defence next year

BNS2019.10.09 09:30

Lithuania's Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis announced on Tuesday that the government was proposing spending the equivalent of 2.02 percent of the country's GDP on defence next year.

The figures were endorsed by the State Defence Council several weeks ago, the minister said.

“There's the decision of the State Defence Council to have 2.02 percent in the regular budget,” Karoblis told a parliament sitting on Tuesday without identifying a specific sum in euros.

According to earlier reports, Lithuania's defence spending will exceed 1 billion euros for the first time.

The proposed funding meets the needs of the national defence system's development plans, Minister Karoblis said. However, if the Lithuanian economy grows faster than estimated next year, the government will allocate additional funds to reach the 2-percent GDP target.

“I see no signs that it would be changed in the government,” Karoblis said.

This year's defence budget stands at 948 million euros and the state will probably have to borrow around 30 million euros to ensure that it reaches the 2-percent GDP benchmark.

Under an agreement signed by most of the country's political parties, defence spending should reach 2.5 percent GDP in 2030.

Karoblis also announced that investments by NATO and individual allies would grow in Lithuania over the coming years. According to the minister, the total investment stood at 117 million euros in 2015-2018 and will amount to 272 million euros in 2019-2021.

“The key investment targets include infrastructure as well as communication and intelligence equipment,” he said.