New Lithuanian PM plans increase in defence spending to NATO standard
Former Lithuanian Interior Minister and head of police, Saulius Skvernelis, gained this week the backing Seimas and the Lithuanian President to become the country’s next Prime Minister. He has pledged to increase defence spending to the threshold required by NATO.
The New York Times reports that Skvernelis noted in a statement after his election on November 22 that Lithuania would join Estonia, Poland and several other NATO members, who fulfil their commitments to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on their armed forces.
«We are ready to increase financing for our military up to 2 percent by the end of 2017 — 2018 at the latest. On top of that, we will increase spending on interior security systems, such as border control, civil defence and intelligence services,» stated the politician.
To the mind of Skvernelis, the European Union’s sanctions should be eased only when there is «real progress on the ground from Russia’s side»; however, currently, the involvement of Russian forces in Georgia and Ukraine «does not imply willingness to cooperate in a neighbourly spirit».
Lithuania’s Peasant and Green’s Union party leader Saulius Skvernelis Author: AFP/SCANPIX