Estonia has ceased to be a golden child in NATO when it comes to defence expenditures, as in absolute terms, the country's defence expenditures are really small despite exceeding minimum spending goal of 2% of GDP, daily Postimees reported.
According to the paper, member states' defence expenditures were subject to in-depth scrutiny during a hearing behind closed doors at NATO last year.
"Last year was the first time that we were no longer the darling," Ministry of Defence Undersecretary for Defence Planning Meelis Oidsalu told the paper. "We were told that we are a country on the border, that this two percent no longer sells, and that our absolute amounts are ridiculous."
Just like the NATO rapporteurs who evaluated Estonia, Oidsalu is not someone who engages in politics, Postimees wrote. He understands that the courtesy of fellow alliance members had its inertia, and for Estonia this ran out last year. He didn't say that Estonia should start running somewhere frantically, but he does feel concern.
With a defence budget equalling 2.5% of its GDP, theoretically, Estonia would be able to acquire medium-range air defence equipment and tanks by 2026. Yet the standing costs that these new capabilities would entail would require a new hike in the level of defence spending in the next decade.
Political parties questioned by Postimees on the prospect of an increase in defence spending were rather skeptical, citing a shortage of information.
Editor: Aili Vahtla