Defense spending reaches ceiling

  • 2002-09-26

Estonia's defense spending has reached its upper limit and should not be increased further, the chairman of the Parliament's National Defense Committee said.

"Spending for national defense is now at the limit of what's socially tolerable," lawmaker Tiit Tammsaar said in remarks published in the Sept. 23 edition of Eesti Paevaleht. "I think that not a single cent should be allocated additionally. Also, high-ranking NATO generals have told us that you must yourself be aware of your possibilities."

Estonia plans to spend an additional 340 million kroons (21.7 million euros) on defense next year, a 20 percent increase over this year's 2 billion kroon defense budget.

Prime Minister Siim Kallas said the extra money would be spent mainly on infrastructure and equipment.

"This, as we all know very well, is very, very expensive," he said.

NATO has urged candidate countries such as Estonia and Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania to invest in the defense sector and bring spending to at least 2 percent of GDP.

Defense Ministry spokesman Madis Mikko said no new spending articles would be added in 2003.