Lithuania's defence budget to grow by third in 2015

Lithuania's defence budget will grow by a third next year, according to the draft budget published on Thursday.
Liudas Gumbinas ir Juozas Olekas
Liudas Gumbinas ir Juozas Olekas
© DELFI (R.Achmedovo nuotr.)

It shows that assignations to the Ministry of National Defence will stand at EUR 424.5 million (over 1.465 billion litas), compared to 1.110 billion litas this year.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Defence told BNS the ministry's budget will stand at 1.11 percent GDP next year, which still considerably below NATO's 2-percent target.

The draft budget's preamble states that next year's budget has been drafted in response "to changing geopolitical and security situation in Europe and the need to fulfil NATO commitments".

Lithuanian politicians agreed to increase the country's defence expenditure in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. The Baltic country's political parties signed an agreement earlier this year on gradually increasing defence spending to 2 percent GDP by 2020.

Defence Minister Juozas Olekas told BNS on Thursday that Lithuania "should carry out additional measures for the country's security and its international commitments to the NATO Alliance".

"The main direction is better completion of our military units with soldiers, army modernization, anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, infantry fighting vehicles, infrastructure improvement and ensured functions as a hosting country to facilitate proper training and learning for arriving Allies," said the minister.

The initial approved Lithuanian defence budget stood at 980.5 million litas but was raised by 130 million litas in the middle of the year, including 85 million from the budget and 45 million from the Privatization Fund. All this defence funding amounted to 0.89 percent of the GDP.

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