Latvian Defence Minister fears insufficient military budget
Artis Pabriks, the Latvian Minister of Defence, stressed the need to increase defence spending to 2.5% of national GDP during the annual national foreign policy debate on 27 January.
Pabriks cited recent Russian aggression against Georgia and Ukraine as cause for concern for not just Latvia, but for all the Baltic states.
The Latvian 2022 defence budget was allocated less than 2% of GDP, around €758.35 million ($867.4 million), an increase to 2.5% would raise that figure to around €947.93 million (over $1.08 billion).
However, the 2022 defence budget currently forecasts a reduction in defence spending in 2023, down to €747.71 million.
The Defence Minister also asked the Saeima for support to make the Baltics an operationally unified region, as previously agreed upon by all the Defence Ministers of the Baltic States.
While stressing the need for Baltic integration, Pabriks also pushed for continued support to regional allies such as Finland, Poland, Sweden and Ukraine.
The Baltic States are all currently supporting Ukraine with transfers of military materiel, Estonia is providing Kyiv with US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles, and Latvia and Lithuania are sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
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