Romania boosts defence spending
Romania’s Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) has approved the Armed Forces Endowment Plan 2017-2026, as Bucharest vies to meet NATO’s 2% of GDP spending target, it was announced on 1 August.
The CSAT, which is headed by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, approved the plan which had previously been withdrawn from the council’s agenda as it failed to provide the necessary funds to meet the government’s defence spending target.
The revised plan provides funds of €9.8 billion to ensure the Romanian government meets NATO’s 2% of GDP defence spending target, a commitment passed by the Romanian parliament in 2015. Romania is the sixth out of 28 nations to meet the target.
The plan covers multi-annual supply programmes for 2017-2016 and includes plans for the acquisition of weapons and combat equipment as well as the procurement, delivery, testing and entry of required equipment.
The passing of the plan follows the president’s approval in May of contracts for eight defence programmes, each worth in excess of €100 million.
The official announcement called on the national defence industry to ‘modernise and develop adequate military production capacities’ as it is expected to be involved in the implementation of the procurement programmes.
‘Under-financing in the defence sector would seriously affect the fulfilment of the basic missions and operational capabilities of our army,’ the statement continued.
Romania’s increased defence spending comes at a time of rising tensions between Russia and its Eastern European neighbours and increasing pressure from the US on NATO members to boost their spending commitments to at least the 2% mark.
Romania is also seeking to purchase the Patriot air defence system from the US government under the foreign military sales programme. The requested package, announced on 11 July, would be worth an estimated $3.9 billion.
The announcement of an increase in procurement funding precedes Russia’s large-scale military exercise, Zapad, scheduled to take place in September.
NATO and US officials have already voiced concern regarding the scale and nature of the exercise, which will take place on Russia’s eastern borders.