Amid disagreements of Lithuania's opposition on further commitment among parties to raise defence funding, Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis expressed hope for the deal to be signed.
Viktoras Pranckietis
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

In an interview to Žinių Radijas on Wednesday morning, he emphasized that the text of the agreement was still being harmonized, as the document was "rather declarative and non-binding" but needed as a signal for foreign partners.

"I believe we will reach consensus and the leaders of parties will sign it," he said.

Pranckietis stressed that the state should prioritize social matters, as social security was part of national security. Therefore, in his words, defence spending should not be increased automatically but in response to a specific need specified by the Defence Ministry.

"Our commitment is two percent, and we have reached it now (...), this year's achievement came two years early," the parliamentary speaker underlined.

"Therefore, we should speak in support of today's budget and support it, we should not talk slogans only and only speak about the need to increase it – the Defence Ministry should not calculate the need by percent of the budget but calculate the actual monetary need that exists. Then we can speak about the next year's budget – the need and the possibilities," he said.

Lithuania's ruling parties suggest amending the party agreement with the following statement: "After earmarking 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for defence in 2018, we will seek to ensure consistent growth of the financing every year." The agreement has come under criticism from opposition representatives – the conservatives want a commitment to raise funding to 2.5 percent of the GDP, while the Social Democrats want a line at 2 percent.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has pledged that funding of the Armed Forces would be continued at a consistent pace in the future.

The 2018 budget earmarks 2.06 percent of the GDP for defence, which is an increase by 149.2 million euros to 873 million euros.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Armonaitė steps down as Lithuanian Liberal Movement's vice-chairwoman

MP Aušrinė Armonaitė is stepping down as the Lithuanian Liberal Movement 's vice-chairwoman and...

Ušackas calls on Lithuania to join EU military force, Šimonytė sees no easy answer

Vygaudas Ušackas , a former diplomat seeking the Homeland Union –Lithuanian Christian Democrats...

Ušackas doesn't see Russia as direct military threat to Baltic countries

Vygaudas Ušackas , a former EU ambassador to Moscow, says he does not think Russia poses a direct...

Lithuania to hold dual citizenship referendum alongside presidential vote, Seimas decides

The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday decided that a referendum on dual citizenship will be held in May...

Seimas backs changes to party funding rules, LSDDP to get state subsidy

The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday adopted amendments to the law on party funding, thus paving the...