Estonia to allocate additional €500 million for its defence capabilities

The Estonian government on 24 March decided to allocate a further €476 million for the reinforcement of the national defence of Estonia and €86 million for the capability of the society to cope in a crisis situation.

This, along with the €380 million the government already extraordinarily allocated to national defence in January, will raise the level of the Estonian defence expenses to 2.5% of the GDP, on average, in the next four years.

According to the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, the war in Ukraine has “forced all allies to reconsider our national defence” and she called the decision “historic”.

The country’s defence minister, Kalle Laanet, added that the additional funding will allow Estonia to equip itself even better.

“Our decisions on where to direct the money are based on the military advice from the Commander of the Defence Forces and on the fact that the armaments acquired must immediately increase our military capability,” he noted.

Laanet highlighted six areas that will be reinforced: short-range anti-aircraft weaponry, anti-tank weaponry, indirect fire, situational awareness, infrastructure of the allies and exercising free will through the Defence League.

Reinforcement of internal security

“The experience of the war in Ukraine has shown that those areas are essential in the fight against the aggressor,” he said.

The €86 million the government allocated to the interior ministry is for the protection of the population and the reinforcement of internal security, part of which will be used for the internal security operations related to the war in Ukraine and part for the protection of the population.

“For example, the funding will be used to cover the expenses of processing applications for temporary protection and on the partial restoration of the border control between Estonia and Latvia,” the government said in a statement.

The funding decision is one part of the planned supplementary budget.

Read also: Live updates: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – reactions in Estonia.

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