Next year, Estonia will see its largest defense budget so far. According to Minister of Defence Juri Luik (IRL), funding Estonia’s national defense continues to be a priority.
The defense area accounts for about EUR 528 million in next year’s state budget, which is the largest defense budget in Estonian history, according to the Ministry of Defense.
“There is still a political consensus in Estonia that funding national defense is a priority,” Luik said. “2% of the GDP is the minimum which we must contribute to national defense to guarantee its sustainability.”
According to the minister, the budget consists of three important areas – building up defensive capacity with long-term development, guaranteeing allied presence, and investments made by the program of national defense investments.
Next year, EUR 490 million will be allocated to implement the independent defense capacity development plan, with the main focus to be on procurements connected to mechanizing the Scouts Battalion.
In addition to the defense budget, more than EUR 12 million will be spent on infrastructure for allied forces and approximately EUR 6 million for running costs connected to the hosting of allied forces in Estonia. Another EUR 20 million is planned to be spent on ammunition procurements in the framework of the program of defense investments.
Developing Tapa Army Base and Amari Air Base as well as the infrastructure of the Central Training Area of the Estonian Defense Forces in cooperation with allies will continue in 2018. Also to continue is the development of the air operations control center. (ERR/Business World Magazine)