The Slovenia Times

Slovenia will have to earmark more for defence, FM says


 - Statement by Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec was said on Friday as he came out of a Brussels meeting of NATO foreign ministers, at which the US again called on its European allies to increase defence budgets.

The minister believes it necessary to discuss the ambitions and possibilities as well as a time frame for increasing the country's defence budget.

"This is not about meeting some bureaucratic criteria, but about providing security, which cannot be taken for granted," he told the press.

Slovenia is no longer immune to ever more serious threats, and given that there are more and more hot spots in the world as well as in the neighbourhood, it makes sense to pay more attention to security, added Erjavec.

He said that all the officials who would attend the NATO summit - the prime minister, defence minister and himself - would be under more pressure to increase the country's military capabilities and defence spending.

At the moment, Slovenia earmarks around 1% of its GDP for defence, whereas NATO members have committed to allocate 2% for the purpose by 2024.

Slovenia's defence budget was significantly cut during the economic crisis, before which it stood at around 1.7% of GDP, said Erjavec.

The foreign minister also announced that the ruling coalition would discuss the issue as it meets on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who today joined European NATO foreign ministers for the first time, reiterated the US's call to raise defence spending in Europe and Canada.

The US expects all allies to have a clear plan ready by the end of this year on how to meet the 2% commitment on defence spending by 2024.


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