NATO Presence in Estonia Not Included in 2%, Rõivas Says ({{commentsTotal}})

The government has agreed to cover the costs of additional NATO presence in Estonia, which will be added to the 2 percent of the gross domestic product already spent on defense, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said Thursday.

When asked about the sum of money and the potential increase in defense spending, Rõivas said it would be “millions of euros”, but most importantly, no planned domestic defense procurement will be cancelled due to the arrival of NATO allies, adding that the percentage of defense spending will not be significantly altered, Postimees reported.

Rõivas said the presence of allies is the most important security achievement of the first 100 days of the government, specifically, the presence of Danish fighters at the Ämari air base and the 150 United States troops, made up of the 173rd airborne brigade.

The US finances nearly three-quarters of NATO’s military spending, up from 63 percent in 2001, including $1 billion in funds allocated this year to forward-deploy NATO troops to Eastern Europe after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Among the alliance’s 28 nations, only the US, Britain, Estonia and Greece are meeting NATO’s own spending guidelines of 2 percent of GDP. Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania have pledged to raise their spending to that level by the end of the decade. Estonia has made it a point of pride in its defense posture by meeting the 2 percent commitment.

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