Latvian president, Estonian PM: Defense spending increase necessary

  • 2016-12-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

RIGA - At their meeting in Riga on Friday, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas agreed about the need to fortify the defense sector and raise defense spending.

The new Estonian prime minister informed Vejonis of his government's plans. Ratas said that the new Estonian government would keep to the same foreign policy and security policy priorities as the previous governments, strengthening co-operation within the EU and NATO, the Latvian president's press service said.

The Latvian president underscored the importance of co-operation between all three Baltic nations in the changing environment and called for joint efforts regarding security, energy, and infrastructure projects, such as in the implementation of the Rail Baltica railway project.

Common positions as regards the strengthening of security in the region were also discussed, with Vejonis and Ratas agreeing that it was important for NATO member states to ensure defense spending at 2 per cent of GDP. Estonia has already achieved this goal and Latvia is set to increase its defense budget to the required size in 2018.

The Latvian president also applauded the priorities of Estonia's forthcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, namely development of the digital market and strengthening of co-operation with the EU's Eastern Partnership countries.