Latvia should up defense spending to 2.5% of GDP, urges Foreign Minister

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Latvia should up its defense spending to 2.5% of GDP in the next few years, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs told Latvian Radio July 18.

"It's in the interests of our own safety," he said.

According to Rinkēvičs, both Lithuania and Estonia are considering to take a similar step. It would provide extra insurance, important in the current geopolitical circumstances.

Rinkēvičs stressed that the Latvian economy is growing faster than anticipated. That's why there's a chance that, this year, the country won't reach the 2% GDP spending cap recommended by NATO.

The defense spending was set according to the planned budget income, but as the real GDP grows the previously set sum may fail to reach the cap.

Rinkēvičs said that there are urgent needs in defense and that money will have to be put into investment.

Nevertheless he brushed off Donald Trump's talk of NATO members having to boost defense spending to 4% of GDP, considering it to be part of a negotiation tactic instead of a demand. 

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