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Estonia calls Baltic to increase defence budgets

Staff writer |
The outgoing Estonian defence minister Urmas Reinsalu sent a letter to his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues, calling them to raise their defence budgets to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to show serious attitude towards state defence, LETA/Postimees Online reports.

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Reinsalu said in the letter sent to Latvian defence minister Raimonds V?jonis and Lithuanian defence minister Juozas Olekas that the unity of the Baltic states in NATO and the European Union is extremely important and generally Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have spoken in one voice and strengthened each other's positions.

"A common understanding of the security situation of our region has guaranteed it that our main values and ambitions stay compatible," wrote Mr. Reinsalu.

Reinsalu wrote that the Ukrainian crisis and recent power demonstrations near the Baltic states borders show that we cannot take our security for granted. "History has proven convincingly that sudden changes in the geopolitical landscape require extreme alertness, unity and sight into the future."

Mr. Reinsalu noted that the new Estonian government has promised to preserve defence expenditure at 2% of GDP.

"Knowing and understanding the political choices and domestic challenges of your state, I still call you to look for a possibility to increase the defence budget. Low contribution to state defence affects directly the security of our region and reduces the influence that we could express in deterrence attitude-themed debates in NATO.

"Since NATO is hopefully increasing attention to collective defence, we have to send a strong signal that we have a more serious attitude towards state defence than several other states," wrote Mr. Reinsalu.

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