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€2.4 billion to be allocated to national defense over next four years

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (IRL).
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (IRL). Source: ERR

Over the next four years a total of €2.4 billion will be allocated to national defense. According to Defence Minister Jüri Luik (IRL), the state budget strategy as decided on by the government late last week provides a strong base for developing the field.

According to the state budget strategy, €2.4 billion will be allocated to national defense over the next four years. This will make it possible to keep Estonia's defense spending above 2 percent of the country's GDP and meet NATO's investment aims, and to keep developing the Estonian Defence Forces, the Defence Ministry said.

"When we look at what is happening around us, in Syria and Ukraine, and especially [the Russian military's] Zapad exercise, then here is no doubt that every euro spent on national defense is of vital importance," Luik said, adding that the budget strategy provides a foundation for developing the defense field.

In addition to spending 2 percent of GDP on national defense, the government will cover all the costs related to hosting allied units as well.

A new defense investments program is planned for 2021 to purchase ammunition. Under the currently ongoing program as well as the next, additional munitions for anti-tank systems, anti-aircraft systems, artillery, and mortars for some €100 million will be bought between 2018 and 2022.

Luik also highlighted the government's decision to raise the salary of military personnel so that the average salary of active personnel of the Estonian Defence Forces exceeds Estonia's average salary by 30 percent.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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