by Staff Writers
Bratislava (AFP) Sept 21, 2017
Slovakia plans to increase its military budget to the NATO target of two percent of gross domestic product by 2024, according to an official document released Thursday.
The NATO and EU member state of 5.4 million people currently allocates 1.16 percent of its GDP to defence.
Slovakia "expects to increase the budget of the defence ministry to 1.6 percent of GDP in 2020 and 2.0 percent of GDP in 2024," the document said.
Defence Minister Peter Gajdos told reporters that reaching 2.0 percent would enable the country to "realise our commitment from the NATO summits."
So far only five NATO members have met the 2.0 percent benchmark set by the Western defence alliance in 2014: Britain, Estonia, Greece, Poland and the United States.
Romania is set to join them this year, and Latvia and Lithuania in 2018, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
US President Donald Trump has laid on the pressure for other European NATO allies to hike their defence budgets, saying they do not pay enough for their security.
Slovakia's long-term defence plan, which Gajdos presented on Thursday, puts emphasis on the replacement and modernisation of its main types of military equipment and technology.
The document says it expects defence investments for the years 2018 to 2030 to amount to 29.9 billion euros ($35.7 billion).
But it acknowledges a lack of finances for the development of the armed forces: "The long-term shortage of resources has led to a gradual decline in the defence capacity of the Slovak Republic."
Marmaris, Turkey (AFP) Sept 20, 2017
Turkey on Wednesday was preparing to wind up naval exercises with fellow NATO members being held at a time of a crisis in relations with several alliance states and controversy over Ankara's plan to purchase weapons from Russia. The NATO exercises, focused on submarine rescue operations and called "Dynamic Monarch", were taking place in Turkish waters in the Mediterranean Sea off the resort ... read more
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