PM says universal military conscription impossible at this stage
Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that, at the moment, he does not back the idea of introducing universal military conscription as he sees the modernization of the Armed Forces as the top defense priority for the next five years.
"Right now, I'm definitely against (universal conscription) and the reason for that is very simple: I rely on the facts and logic provided by our professionals in a very clear and well-argued manner," Skvernelis said on Žinių Radijas on Thursday.
"The main financial injection that the Lithuanian Armed Forces needs today is in its modernization," he added.
Lithuania's main political parties are currently holding talks on an agreement committing to gradually increasing defense spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030, up by 0.5 percentage points from this year's target of 2 percent.
The draft document calls for decisions on introducing universal military conscription to be made in 2022.
According to the prime minister, the main task at this stage is to modernize the Armed Forces, to purchase weapons and form military units composed of professionals and conscripts.
"This is where we need the main financial investments now. Mandatory conscription is expensive," he said.
Around 3,500 young men are called up for mandatory military service in Lithuania annually.