Seimas speaker sees increase of defense funding as decision of principle

DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

“There is a political decision of principle, and this is what it should be. When we came, we spoke about continuity of the foreign policies and the commitments to NATO. As you know, the Lithuanian commitment was noticed instantly on the international arena, and we should not and could not step back now,” the parliamentary speaker told Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday.

He emphasized that other fields should not be affected by the move to raise defense spending.

On Tuesday, the State Defence Council suggested raising the defense funding to 2.07 percent of the GDP next year.

“The State Defence Council has decided to propose earmarking an additional 149.2 million euros in allocations for the Defense Ministry in the state budget of 2018,” Živilė Šatūnienė, senior national security adviser to President Dalia Grybauskaitė, told journalists after the council’s meeting.

In her words, the defense budget is proposed in light of the “geopolitical situation and the country’s international commitments to NATO.”

This year, Lithuania earmarked 723 million euros or 1.8 percent of the GDP for defense purposes.

The country has been raising its defense financing since the 2014 Russian actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

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