Defence minister calls for national security strategy overhaul
This is why he believes the national security strategy should be overhauled to better define security challenges and to enable the country to strengthen its security systems to increase Slovenia's resilience.
"There is no prosperity without security," said Erjavec, who said it was easy to talk about whether healthcare or education should be given priority over defence when it came to finances. "But we should not forget that there is no healthcare and education if we don't live in a safe environment."
The minister thus cannot agree with those who claim that allocating 2% of GDP for defence means giving the money to NATO. "These funds are spent on our own security."
Erjavec highlighted climate change as well as migrations, some crisis areas relatively close to Slovenia, terrorism and the return of IS fighters to Europe as some of the main challenges Slovenia is already faced with.
Defence expert Iztok Prezelj said the ability to deal with complex threats was the key test of the maturity of the national security system, while noting security threats were growing and were also unpredictable.
"The current crisis between the West, especially the US, and Russia is the worst security crisis in Europe after the end of the Cold War," said the professor.
Noting there was a lack of trust, he said that the rivalry between the East and West would probably grow further with the rivalry between the West and China.
Regardless of this, Slovenia will have to take care of its security and reinforce the Slovenian Armed Forces, stressed Prezelj.
This entails a rise in defence spending, perhaps also increasing its combat power, improving working conditions, attracting the best staff and intensifying relations with other systems within the national security system.
Major General Alan Geder, chief of the general staff, said that in order to improve the situation, changes to how the army was financed and staff treated were needed.
But they should be made fast and required a multi-layered approach, that is the participation of the entire state, the general stressed.
He doubts, however, that this will be possible without excluding the army from the single pay system in the public sector.