Lithuania's defence budget is set to grow by around 400 million litas (EUR 116 million) next year, the country's Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas says.
Juozas Olekas
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

"We have agreed with the parliamentary majority and members of the government, and also with the president, to gradually increase defence spending. Our goal is to reach 2 percent of the GDP by 2020, which needs additional 400 million litas every year, starting from this years' budget. And I hope we will have this growth, perhaps even a bit bigger growth, as we are lagging behind considerably and the tension is much higher," the minister told the Žinių Radijas radio station on Thursday.

In his words, the needs of the defence system are bigger but he understands that other areas need funding as well.

The State Defence Council on Monday proposed to the government to increase funding for the Ministry of National Defence in the next year's budget.

The ministry said in July its budget should increase to 1.381 billion litas and would exceed 1.03 percent GDP, compared to 980 million litas it received this year. Additional sum of 130 million litas was allocated in the middle of this year in response to the Ukrainian crisis.

All NATO countries are committed to earmarking two percent of their GDP for defence purposes. Lithuania has been criticized numerous times for spending only around a half of that.

BNS
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