Lithuania to meet NATO's 2 pct defense spending target - PM
Lithuania will meet its commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense this year even if it will have to spend over 10 million euros additionally due to its faster-than-projected economic growth, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.
"We'll find ways (of meeting NATO's target) without revising the budget. Two percent of GDP will be used this year. It's our problem what financial-engineering mechanism we use," he told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting.
The Cabinet discussed the Finance Ministry's proposal to use a part of the ministry's borrowed money for defense funding to avoid a more complicated budget review procedure.
The Finance Ministry has drafted and is submitting under a fast-track procedure a legal amendment allowing it to use borrowed funds to finance NATO-related financial commitments.
It was said when the 2018 budget was being planned that Lithuania's defense spending would reach 2.006 percent of GDP, but the rate might be lower because of the country's faster-than-expected growth.
NATO projections, released in early July, put Lithuania's 2018 defense budget at 1.96 percent of GDP, but the Lithuanian government promised to meet the 2-percent target.
Decisions on using borrowed funds to finance Lithuania's defense commitments will be made after the Finance Ministry and the European Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development update their economic growth forecasts for the country in the fall.