Latvia and Lithuania Should Increase Defense Spending, Rasmussen Says ({{commentsTotal}})

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Source: Photo: ERR

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen set Estonia as an example to its Baltic neighbors for meeting the 2 percent goal in defense spending.

Rasmussen, who will leave the post in September, told ETV in an interview on Friday that Latvia and Lithuania should follow Estonia’s example when it comes to planning their defense budgets.

“I realize that we can’t achieve that goal overnight but when Estonia, which also was hit severely by the economic crisis, can manage to reach the 2 percent goal, I think other countries could do it as well,” he said.

According to NATO’s official data, Latvia and Lithuania’s defense spending in 2013 was 0.9 and 0.8 percent of GDP, respectively.

When asked about updating defense plans in Eastern Europe to make countries feel safer, Rasmussen assured media there are plans for countering all kinds of threats and said he supports the call of US President Barack Obama to update the current plans in light of the events in Crimea.