Social Democrats suggest not increasing defense spending threshold

Gintautas Paluckas

Lithuania's opposition social democrats have suggested keeping the country's existing level of defense spending at 2 percent GDP and not to increase it.

The party's council adopted a relevant resolution on Saturday.

"Fulfilling its international commitments, the state must spend 2 percent GDP on the country's defense," it says.

The party also announced it commitment to seek the EU average in funding for the areas of social and health care, culture and education. The party believes it is necessary to address the demographic crisis and close the social gap between regions and different social groups.

Last month, the social democrats refused to join other parliamentary parties' agreement to increase defense spending to 2.5 percent GDP by 2030, which is 0.5 percentage points more, compared to the existing threshold.

The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Lithuania and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance made the agreement, and the parties also said decisions would be made in 2022 on the possibility to introduce universal conscription in the country.

The social democrats' resolution states that the army must be formed on the basis of volunteers and professionals.

The party's leader Gintautas Paluckas called on fellow party members on Saturday not to fear criticism.

"It's easy to sing in a choir when nobody reproaches you, nobody slams you on social media or in the press. But is this social democracy? Are these our values?" Paluckas told the council sitting. "We must remain not only brave but also smart, to see things critically, analytically and put everything through our value filter."

The resolution was adopted by the party council without any discussion. It was endorsed unanimously without holding a vote.

Source: BNS
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