Estonia expecting increase in defense spending from NATO summit

  • 2024-06-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In preparation for the Washington summit in July, NATO defense ministers will discuss strengthening NATO's deterrence and defense, increasing defense spending and strengthening the defense industry on the second day of the NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will present a jointly proposed capability development initiative, the main goal of which is to accelerate the development of the most critical capabilities and the procurement of ammunition for NATO's defense plans.

"Considering that Russian forces are currently larger than they were at the beginning of the war and that their defense spending has risen to nearly 9 percent of GDP this year, according to various public sources, it is clear that the security situation is critical and showing no signs of calming down in the near future. Ukraine's victory and Russia's defeat are extremely important in ensuring transatlantic security, but we must also jointly do more than before so that the defense of the alliance is guaranteed in the best possible way. It is important to quickly acquire critical military capabilities," Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

"The idea of ​​the capability development initiative presented by the three Baltic states is that the allies would make a political commitment at the summit to invest in the development of the most critical capabilities from the point of view of NATO's defense plans (such as air defense and indirect fire) and in the acquisition of ammunition stocks, and to complete these procurements and capability developments in the short term," Pevkur added. "In doing so, we foremost emphasize that European allies (but also Canada) must develop capabilities more and faster and thus take greater responsibility for European defense in order to share the burden more equally with the United States."

In terms of deterrence and defense, the focus of the defense ministers' meeting will be on the applicability of NATO's defense plans.

"Today, we would like to approve the proposals to strengthen NATO's military leadership. They specify, among other things, the management of naval and land force operations," Pevkur said. "It is definitely important to get an overview of the forces contributed by the allies to NATO's defense plans, including the shortfalls resulting from the long-term underfunding of the defense sector."

Pevkur noted that according to current data, about two-thirds of NATO allies will reach 2 percent in 2024, but this is not a reason to celebrate or congratulate each other today.

"We see more and more clearly that the minimum level of 2 percent of NATO's defense costs approved at the Vilnius summit is not sufficient," the minister said. "In order to eliminate current deficits and meet the needs of NATO's defense plans, all allies should move to at least 2.5 percent, and we want to make this a new target level in NATO in the future."