President: Lithuania's defense spending shouldn't be tied to specific figures

  • 2017-01-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania should not tie itself to specific financing figures as its defense spending will depend on geopolitical challenges and available financial resources, President Dalia Grybauskaite said on Wednesday.

"National defense funding will remain vital in the years to come. Its size will depend on geopolitical challenges and threats and the country's financial capacity," Grybauskaite told through her spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaite.

"The National Security Strategy, which has been just adopted by the Seimas, provides for consistently increasing national defense funding to reach the minimum level of 2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2018 at the latest and for ensuring a further gradual increase in funding. Therefore, it is not appropriate to tie ourselves to concrete figures," she added.

The parliament's Committee on National Security and Defense decided on Tuesday that political parties should update their 2014 agreement on defense policies to set a 2.5 percent of GDP target for defense spending in 2020.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, have said that they back the proposal.

Vytautas Bakas, the committee's chairman, has said that Lithuania needs a bigger defense budget to ensure cyber security and prepare for universal military conscription.

In the 2014 agreement, political parties agreed to raise defense spending annually until it reaches 2 percent of GDP. The current government has pledged to achieve the 2 percent target in 2018.

This year's defense spending is planned at 1.8 percent of GDP.