Lithuania pledges to spend at least 3% of GDP on defence

By Thomson Reuters Mar 21, 2024 | 10:42 AM

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuania’s parliament on Thursday confirmed state budget guidelines which foresee an amount worth at least 3% of gross domestic product to be spent on defence from 2025 onwards.

The motion was supported by two thirds of the parliament.

NATO military alliance and EU member Lithuania, which borders Russia and its ally Belarus, spent 2.8% of GDP on defence in 2023 and is projected to spend the same this year.

NATO members have set a defence spending target of at least 2% of GDP, but few have reached the goal.

However, countries bordering Russia have been ramping up defences after it invaded Ukraine. Lithuania’s neighbouring Poland projects spending over 4% of GDP on defence this year, and nearby Estonia 3.2%.

Polish president Andrzej Duda proposed earlier this month all alliance countries should spend at least 3% of GDP for defence.

Lithuania will partly use the additional money to prepare for permanently hosting 5,000 German troops from 2027.

(Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Andrew Cawthormne)