Lithuania should stop raising defense spending – Seimas’ speaker

Viktoras Pranskietis
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

In his words, after reaching the 2 percent of the GDP requested by NATO, Lithuania will implement a relevant agreement of political parties and meet its commitments to NATO.

“We should first of all meet the commitment. The obligation is 2 percent, and we probably don’t need to raise it any further,” the parliamentary speaker said in an interview broadcast on the national television LRT on Sunday.

“We have an agreement with parties to ensure the 2 percent. This is insufficient funding of our defense, however, it is a good demonstration, as are merely the seventh country to implement the commitment. I believe this is enough for now, and we should not keep on increasing the level,” he added.

In the parliamentary speaker’s words, this would allow earmarking more money for social needs.

Lithuania should next year spend nearly 900 million euros on defense, which makes 2.07 percent of its GDP. The Defense Ministry expects the defense spending to grow to 2.35 percent of the GDP in 2020.

This year, the defense budget totals at nearly 724 million euros, which accounts for 1.8 percent of the GDP. The biggest share of the money goes towards weaponry acquisitions and expansion of the 2nd brigade of the Land Forces.

Lithuania started raising its defense spending since 2014 in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

Currently, the NATO countries spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense include the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia, Poland and Romania.

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