Govt drafts EUR 780m bill for military investments
The majority of the funds, or EUR 408 million, is to go for eight- and four-wheeled armoured personnel carriers for a battalion battlegroup.
The core of the first battalion battlegroup will be a medium-sized mechanised battalion, which the government would like to fully equip while this piece of legislation is in place.
As much as EUR 128 million would be spent on military aviation, including on a cargo aircraft and two helicopters, and a new military hangar at Brnik airport.
Another EUR 65 million is planned for transport vehicles and for logistical and medical equipment, and just as much for rocket and missile systems.
In 2021 and 2022, EUR 100 million would be spent each year, whereas EUR 145 million a year would be spent in the next four years.
There is an option allowing for even higher spending per year, but the absolute annual cap is set at EUR 160 million.
The government says the goal is to provide funds to set up the most vital military capabilities for the SAF to be able to carry out its tasks, including as part of the collective defence system, meaning NATO.
Under the bill, multi-annual contracts could be reached to purchase defence systems and military equipment, which will have to meet NATO standards.
The Defence Ministry will have to notify defence contractors in Slovenia about the SAF's purchases to allow them to more easily anticipate market development and potentially take part in investment projects and orders.
The government is to provide the funds as part of the annual national budgets, and report about the implementation of the law to parliament.
Apart from providing the funds for the SAF, the government would also like to address the career issue of soldiers once they have to retire at 45.
Defence Minister Matej Tonin is seeking support to change the defence law to re-employ at least some of the soldiers at other state bodies, for which a two-thirds majority is needed. He told today's Delo that apart from coalition parties, two opposition parties and the minority MPs also support the changes.