Latvia to invest 158 million euros in defense spending

  • 2014-08-20
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Latvia will invest 158 million euros into air-surveillance and anti-aircraft capabilities over eight years, LETA reports

The funding boost will be poured into air space surveillance detectors and radar, anti-aircraft systems and modernize its weaponry modernization, the defense ministry said.

Other areas include equipping its patrol ships with specific systems, developing tactical surveillance capabilities and training soldiers.

"If we manage to realize all of this, we will be able to detect low level flights near Latvia's border, as well as increase our armed forces' air surveillance capabilities," Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis  said.

The Defense Ministry has currently decided to purchase several air-surveillance systems. A total of 13 companies have offered their surveillance systems to Latvia, while companies operating in the European Union have offered more than 15 different surveillance systems.

The ministry explained that current surveillance systems in Latvia are able to provide continuous surveillance of Latvia's air-space. Radio-locators in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are all linked up, forming a joint air-space surveillance system and providing a much larger coverage.

Russia's food embargo

Elsewhere, Russia's embargo on the import of dairy products could mean Latvian dairy farms could receive up to 13 euros million in aid, Latvia's Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs has said.

Up to 13 million euros will be paid from the government's emergency funds, the minister said.

"Of course, we will have to coordinate this with the European Commission, however, we expect that local farmers and producers will receive compensation payments already in September or October," Duklavs said.

He added: "We must revise agricultural support measures and the European Union aid, and also hold discussions with banks. We will hold individual talks with every dairy company to determine what each of them requires, as there can be no single remedy good for everyone.

"Some will require tax holidays, while others - something else," the minister said.

Duklavs also said that intervention measures would be discussed with Brussels in the near future, as well as subsidies for Latvia's exports of dairy products.