Estonia's defense spending should increase to 2.5 percent of GDP given the events in the region, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) said on Wednesday.
The MP said he hoped Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) political statement in the Riigikogu on Wednesday will start a serious political debate about long-term defense investment.
"What should our defense budget be, not only in the context of the coming years, but on the understanding that Russia's aggressive actions towards its western neighbors, are likely to continue and will require us to invest in our defense budget," Mihkelson said.
Estonia's current defense spending is at 2.3 percent, putting it above the 2 percent level suggested by NATO.
The Riigikogu member said one area that requires investment is Baltic air defense. He said an agreement could be made with Latvia and Lithuania to raise defense spending.
"If we look at defense spending in neighboring countries with allied support, I would say that in the current situation, we should move in a direction that raises the floor from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. Lithuania has politically agreed that it will rise to that level by 2030. I think that now that the principles of security policy are being reviewed in the parliament in Estonia, it is the right time to create a political consensus," said Mihkelson.
Editor: Helen Wright