Estonia Increases Its Defence Spending. “More than 2% of the GDP”
Estonian authorities announced that the budgetary bill, already approved by the government, assumes that the defence expenditure is going to be increased - 9% higher level of spending is expected. Contribution of the military spending in the GDP is going to slightly exceed 2% of the GDP.
In 2016, Estonia is going to spend - in total - EUR 449 million on national security, which constitutes 8.9% increase, in comparison with the preceding year. According to the official announcement, more than 25% of the aforesaid funds, i.e. EUR 114 million, are going to be allocated to realize developement the new defence capabilities.
The Estonians are going to carry out acquisition of the CV9035NL infantry fighting vehicles for the reconnaissance battalion. This procurement is going to be covered with an amount of EUR 25.2 million. Acquisition of armament and equipment is also being planned, including uniforms and ammunition for the 1st and the 2nd Infantry Brigades. Cost of this procurement is going to reach the value of EUR 40 million.
51.6 million euros are going to be used to expand the infrastructure. The official release stresses the fact that expansion of the infrastructure for the NATO soldiers remaining in Estonia, within the scope of the “permanent” presence, is covered with an amount of EUR 10 million.
Estonia is one of a few NATO member states which decided to spend 2% of the GDP on the defence purposes, starting from 2013. Recently, agreements were made, the aim of which is to make it possible to acquire the Javelin ATGMs, along with the CV-9035NL infantry fighting vehicles. Tallinn maintains the army on the basis of general conscription, and the armed forces are complemented by so called Estonian Defence League - paramilitary forces, and by a special unit focused on cyber-warfare.
Similarly as in case of other Baltic republics, the defensive capabilities of Estonia remain limited. The scale of involvement within the areas related to the international security is also notable. Lithuania, which is much larger than Estonia, spent an amount of EUR 425 million within the defence budget in 2015, only several million euros more, than in case of Tallinn. This is an effect of maintaining the defence expenditure at the level of 2% of the GDP, while back in 2013, in case of Latvia and Lithuania, the defence expenditure was shaped at the level below 1% of the GDP.