RIGA – When planning next year’s budget, defense sector should be allocated by EUR 10-20 million more than the necessary 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), said Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) in an interview with the Latvian public television today.
The minister said that 2 percent of GDP is the minimum that is necessary to meet the NATO requirements, but there should be a reserve of EUR 10-20 million.
“Latvia has done huge job in strengthening its defense in the recent years, and has been able to do that thanks to the allocated financing,” said the minister.
As reported, this year revenue in the government consolidated budget is planned at EUR 9.2 billion and expenditure at EUR 9.4 billion. In the government basic budget, revenue is planned at EUR 6.4 billion and expenditure at EUR 6.8 billion. In the government special budget, revenue is planned at EUR 3 billion and expenditure at EUR 2.8 billion.
In 2019, the general government consolidated budget is expected to run a deficit of 0.5 percent of GDP. Latvia’s GDP, meanwhile, is projected to grow 3 percent this year.
The Saeima plans to hear the budget bill and related bills in the final reading on April 3.
In line with the government’s decision, in 2019 and in the future Latvia’s defense budget will be at 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). According to GDP forecasts, in 2019 it will be EUR 636,645,418, in 2020 – EUR 653,036,225, and in 2021 – EUR 688,596,225.
Of the 2019 defense budget, EUR 392,336,689 are earmarked for current expenses, EUR 180,083,881 for reimbursements, and EUR 212,252,808 for goods and services.