Latvia to increase defense spending by ten percent

  • 2013-11-07
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Latvia's defense spending will increase by ten percent next year, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has said.

The Prime Minister held talks with NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in Latvia on Nov. 6 as part of the Steadfast Jazz military exercises currently taking place, reports LETA.

Following the meeting, Dombrovskis confirmed plans to gradually increase defense funding so it would reach two percent of gross domestic product in 2020.

Dombrovskis added that the establishment of a NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga would make it possible for Latvia to further contribute to bolstering NATO common defense capabilities. He emphasized that Latvia was ready to actively contribute to improving the alliance's cyber protection and communication capabilities.

After NATO pulls its troops out from Afghanistan next year, modernization of armed forces will become the top priority, Rasmussen said. It's important that member states could back the plans and provide funds, he added. 

Dombrovskis and Rasmussen also discussed the upcoming European Union Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, agreeing that every effort should be made to consolidate the EU relations with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and other Eastern Partnership countries.