RIGA - Latvia’s defense budget must not be reduced below one percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2012, not to mention 2013 and 2014, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (Unity) said, commenting on the government’s work on the 2012 national budget, reports LETA. “We must prove to ourselves and to our allies that we are thinking about at least some kind of growth, which means that we would like to see a long-term perspective - five to seven years ahead. This is one of our requests to the government and the Finance Ministry: to make sure that we can predict what will happen after 2014,” said the minister.
Pabriks explained that military development includes various processes, for example, tenders and procurement of military equipment, which require a considerable amount of time. “If we want to plan our defense procurements for 2014, then we need to know about it already in 2012,” emphasized the minister.
Currently, Pabriks is attempting to convince his colleagues that Latvia’s defense budget must not fall below 1 percent of GDP, and that there must be a certain perspective for growth in 2013, 2014, and further.
By 2011, defense spending had fallen to 1.14 percent of GDP, due to the economic crisis, reports the U.S. State Department. NATO rules state that member states must spend a minimum of 2 percent of GDP on defense.