EUR 432m available for investments in two-year defence budget

Ljubljana – The Defence Ministry will have EUR 432 million at its disposal for defence investments under the draft budgets for the next two years, shows a detailed breakdown of spending items debated by the parliamentary Defence Committee on Thursday evening.

The total defence spending is set at EUR 792 million in the revised budget for next year, up EUR 105 million compared to the current budget document. This represents 5.7% of total budget expenditure.

In 2023 funding would be raised by a further EUR 103 million to EUR 896 million, representing 6.7% of overall budget expenditure.

Defence spending will thus total 1.41% of GDP, bringing Slovenia closer to NATO targets, according to Defence Ministry State Secretary Uroš Lampret.

Army investments are budgeted at EUR 173 million in 2022 and EUR 259 million in 2023. Lampret said the priority was to develop a mid-sized infantry battalion and upgrade the army’s airlifting capabilities.

Other major investments include a modernisation of the Edvard Peperko Barracks in Ljubljana, helicopter upgrades, and modernisation of shooting ranges.

The committee debate saw MPs clash along party lines. The coalition defended the spending as long overdue, whereas the opposition raised questions about fiscal sustainability and the prudence of spending so much on defence.

The National Assembly is expected to vote on the budget bills in November, after the Finance Committee has reviewed the bills as the final parliamentary working body to do so.