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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 09.08.2020, 03:02

Lithuania’s president sees chances to implement parties’ deal on 2.5 % defense spending

BC, Vilnius, 10.07.2020.Print version
Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda sees chances of implementing the consensus of political parties on the raising of defense spending to 2.5 % of GDP by 2030, but admits that it will be difficult, writes LETA/BNS.

Some of the parties had not signed the respective agreement, the president said adding that he had been assured that those parties would approve of increased defense spending if it was accompanied by increased spending, expressed as a share of GDP, on social needs.

“I think it [the commitment on the defense spending of 2.5 % of GDP] is a right decision but it will be difficult to implement if we do not pursue a higher level of GDP redistribution through the budget,” he said at a news conference.

“There are certain parties, which have rather good chances in the upcoming general election and which are rather skeptical about this goal. However, I was assured during consultations with their leaders that those parties would not be too categorical about the relative raising of defense spending if we managed to increase spending, expressed as a share of gross domestic product, on social security at the same time,” Nauseda said.

“Is it possible to do that? It is difficult but possible,” he added.

Lithuania has an agreement by parliamentary parties, except for the social democrats, in place, stipulating a gradual increase in defense spending to at least 2.5 % GDP by 2030, from approximately 2% at present.

According to Gintautas Paluckas, the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, the party supported the country’s commitment on defense spending of 2% of GDP and was open to discussions about increased spending but those discussions had to change.

“We support commitments, such as international commitments to NATO, of 2 %. We can discuss the raising of defense spending but our skepticism could only be reduced by the expansion of the notion of defense,” he told.

The social democrats called to consider proposals to include youth and healthy lifestyle promotion projects as well as science funding into the area of defense, also to expand the notion of threats to national security, which, in their view, could include issues pertaining to social exclusion.

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