Estonia's defense budget will surpass 3 percent of GDP for the first time next year, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference alongside German Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius on Tuesday afternoon, Pevkur told journalists: "Estonia is committed to high defense spending of at least 3 percent [of GDP], to be honest, just today the Estonian government approved next year's budget which foresees 3.2 percent for defense spending for the next year."
Earlier on Tuesday, the government passed its 2024 budget which allocates €1.33 billion in 2024 for defense spending and around €5.6 billion for the 2024-27 period.
This is the first time Estonia has allocated more than 3 percent of its GDP to defense.
Pevkur also said more than €2.5 billion will be spent to procure defense equipment over the next four years, almost 54 percent.
The minister said Estonia is committed to fulfilling Article Three of the NATO charter, which emphasizes member states' commitments to developing their own defense capabilities.
This year, spending was forecast to be 2.73 percent, according to NATO's calculations.
Germany "optimistic" for 2 percent goal in 2024
Pistorius, who is on a three-day visit to Tallinn, said he was "optimistic" about Germany's defense spending next year in relation to the 2 percent of GDP goal.
He also highlighted that only 10 of NATO's 31 members currently spend 2 percent on defense: "So, we are not the last and, of course, we do not want to be the last."
Editor: Helen Wright