Lithuania's defense spending in the future will depend on available budget funds and the needs of its Armed Forces, Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, said on Monday, clarifying his position on the matter.
Military exercise in Rukla
© J.Butkutės nuotr.

"After 2018, we have to consider (defense spending) in light of the needs and (financial) capacity. We need to balance between these things, because the military's needs can be very high and simply unbearable for the budget," he told BNS.

The speaker of the parliament said in an interview with LRT Television aired on Sunday that Lithuania's defense funding should not increase further after the country starts allocating 2 percent of GDP for the sector in 2018, as agreed by its political parties and as required by NATO.

Pranckietis said on Monday that he spoke about the 2018 budget in the TV interview, even though he was answering a question about further defense funding.

"We are discussing the 2018 budget today. We are not ready to speak about future budgets," he said.

Lithuania next year is set to increase its defense spending to nearly 900 million euros, or 2.07 percent of GDP, up from almost 724 million euros, or 1.8 percent of GDP this year. The Defense Ministry expects defense funding to rise to 2.35 percent of GDP in 2020.

The country started raising its defense spending in 2014 in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea region.

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