Latvia follows Estonia's lead in boosting defense spend, to 2.25% of GDP

Military exercise in progress at Adaži, near Riga, home of Latvia's NATO base.
Military exercise in progress at Adaži, near Riga, home of Latvia's NATO base. Source: Marina Loštšina

Latvia's defense spending in 2023 will rise proportionately almost to Estonian levels, and will be set at 2.25 percent of Gross Domestic Product, public broadcaster LSM reports.

The 2.25 percent figure represents a major advance on the figure of 1 percent of GDP which Latvia spent on defense in 2014, and reflects both the changed security situation and the stance taken by many other NATO member states, including Estonia, LSM's English-language page says.

Furthermore, Latvian defense spend will rise by increments to 2.5 percent in 2025, thus reaching parity with Estonia in that year.

In terms of cash, Latvia's defense ministry said €163.55 million more will be spent this year, than last year.

The news followed the passing of the 2023 state budget, on Thursday, LSM reports.

As in Estonia, mid-range air defenses, coastal defense and artillery, and cyber defense, are most highly in focus.

In all, €370 million will go towards personnel expenses and €309.21 million on maintenance expenses this year, along with €303.62 million in investments.

Latvia is also reintroducing compulsory military service, and continuing with its program of the "promotion of patriotic education among Latvian youth", LSM says.

The original LSM piece is here.

Estonia's Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition-in-waiting says it will call on NATO members to increase their defense spending to at least 2.5 percent of GDP, following the second full day of talks, held Friday.

Only nine of the 30 NATO member states met or exceeded this ideal last year.

The bar chart below shows defense spend as a percentage of GDP across NATO's current member states in 2022.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: LSM

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