Latvian President reiterates need for defense and interior budget increase

The next Saeima that will be elected in October 2022 should consider increasing the defense budget further and growing the fighting capacity of the National Armed Forces (NBS), as well as give budget priority to internal services, said President of Latvia Egils Levits in an address to the Saeima on June 16.

Although Latvia has decided to increase the defense budget to 2.5% of gross domestic product over the next three years, the next Saeima should consider whether this is sufficient and whether this percentage of the budget should be increased further, said Levits.

"In the new geopolitical situation, also with all this increase [of NATO presence] that we have achieved in recent months, it is not enough in the long term. There is a need to strengthen the command structure and to increase resources."

The president also stressed the need to pay special attention to Latvia's internal security, saying it had been neglected for a long time: “The State border has not yet been sufficiently strengthened. The Interior Ministry's structures lack modern equipment and adequate infrastructure. And not least, professional, well-educated staff.”

Latvia's foreign political weight has to be maintained over the next four years, said Levits. Latvia will run for the UN Security Council in 2025, Levits said, pointing out that it is an opportunity to take responsibility for democratic values and the protection of international law.

In order to be elected, Latvia must win 129 of the 193 votes of the UN member states. This will not be easy, so the next Saeima members and the foreign service must make every effort to achieve it, said the president.

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