Janša: Slovenia must do its homework regarding defence spending

Brussels – Slovenia will not be able to reach the NATO target of 2% of GDP in defence spending by 2024, but it must do its homework and under the current government the spending trend has been reversed, Prime Minister Janez Janša said as he arrived for a summit of NATO leaders on Monday.

In 2014, NATO members set the target of defence spending at 2% of GDP by 2024, of which a fifth for investments. The latest NATO report on defence spending indicates Slovenia spends 1.28% of GDP on defence, one of the lowest shares among all members.

Janša said the target was reasonable, but Slovenia would not be able to achieve it at the current pace by 2024. He expects that by 2030 it will be able to say: “We’re glad you’re providing for our security but we can provide for our shared security in equal measure as well.”

The prime minister said Slovenia had “not stood out in positive terms by its financial contributions to shared North Atlantic security. During this government’s term we have reversed these trends.”

Janša highlighted the act on long-term investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces that he said would make it possible to “significantly increase our own defence capacity,” which will allow the country to seriously work with partners in NATO.

“We realise that the alliance works both ways. If we expect others to increase defence budgets to provide for our security, we have to do our homework as well,” he said.

In his doorstep statement, Janša noted that Slovenia joined NATO because it believed the allies share fundamental values, something that he described as the core of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Janša believes that NATO must enlarge, which means inviting all democratic countries that are close to our region and that want to join the alliance. It also means inviting other partners who share our fundamental values to work closer with NATO, he said.

The prime minister held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit with priorities of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU high on the agenda.

Save from that, he discussed EU-Iceland relations with his Icelandic counterpart Katrin Jakobsdottir and EU-Norway relations and topical international issues such as Russia and Belarus with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Janša was also due to present the priorities of Slovenia’s presidency in particular those concerning the Western Balkans to his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev.

The prime minister is being accompanied at the summit by Defence Minister Matej Tonin.