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Latvia cannot avoid discussion on spending more than 2% of GDP on defense - Bergmanis
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    Latvia cannot avoid discussion on spending more than 2% of GDP on defense - Bergmanis

    RIGA, July 12 (LETA) - Latvia’s defense needs have to be met, which is why Latvia will not be able to avoid a discussion on raising its defense budget to more than 2 percent of GDP, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens/Farmers), who is attend the Alliance’s summit, told LETA by phone from Brussels.

    Bergmanis believes that any country can increase its defense spending provided that there is political will and support.

    According to information provided previously by the Defense Ministry, Latvia spent 1.4 percent of its GDP in 2017, and increased defense spending to 1.7 percent of GDP in 2017 and 2 percent in 2018. This year’s defense budget is by EUR 126.8 million bigger than last year’s.

    “Many countries continue to develop their armed forces because 2 percent of GDP is the minimum that has to be provided to defense. We will not be able to avoid a discussion on raising defense spending,” the minister said.

    “We too will need finance, for instance, for setting up the headquarters of the Multinational Division North at the Adazi base. We are planning various projects but it is necessary to bear in mind that costs are changing, including in construction, for instance,” Bergmanis said.

    Bergmanis also dismissed reports that US President Donald Trump threatened at today’s NATO Summit in Brussels to pull the US out of the Alliance unless the allies increased defense spending at once. “He did not say that, at least I did not hear him say that,” the Latvian minster said, calling the remarks ascribed to Trump “apparent media speculations”.

    • Published: 12.07.2018 18:29
    • LETA
    •  
    • © The given news may not be republished in any way or amount, or otherwise used by the mass media or Internet websites, without written permission of LETA. If this provision is not observed, the matter will be taken to court pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Latvia.