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If the government is unresponsive in the face of a growing military threat from the east, then citizens need to resort to populist measures to get their message across. This is what is happening now in Latvia, as a signature drive for increasing the defense budget is under way, at the Manabalss.lv portal, reports LETA.
The visitors to the portal are asked to sign a petition, prepared by the Latvian Transatlantic Organization, the Center for East European Policy Studies, and the Baltic to Black Sea Alliance, which urges Saeima to endorse the Defense Ministry’s bill and strategy on increasing Latvia’s defense budget to 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 in order to foster consolidation of the country’s defense capabilities, observe Latvia’s international commitments within the NATO collective defense policy, and create the foundation for long-term development of Latvia’s military capacity.
The Defense Ministry bill was submitted to the parliament this past March.
By steadily and consistently increasing the defense spending until it reaches 2 percent of GDP in 2020, Latvia will meet its international commitments that it undertook upon joining NATO ten years ago and reduce threats to the country’s national security, note the initiators of the signature drive.
By Monday morning, slightly more than 100 people had signed the petition. For the petition to be submitted to Saeima, it must be signed by at least 10,000 citizens.