According to the budget strategy approved by the Government of the Republic for 2020–2023, Estonia will continue to use at least 2% of GDP for the development of national defence, added to which are the costs for hosting Allies and the Defence Investment Programme, in accordance with the principles set forth in the foundations for security policy and the coalition agreement. This is also the minimum target rate for national defence agreed upon between NATO allies.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the defence budget for the coming years will focus on the development of capabilities of vital importance to military defence, which are essential for defending the country.
These capabilities proceed from the valid National Defence Development Plan 2017-2026, and what is agreed upon in the Ministry of Defence’s development plan, which looks 4 years into the future. ‘When developing national defence it is important that comprehensive capabilities are achieved, which requires thorough planning well in advance. The placement of each euro is very precisely thought out,’ added Luik.
‘We need to continue to develop the military structures of the Defence Forces, in the form of additional defensive capability as well as greater firepower,’ said Minister Luik. ‘We must equip our reserve army with more powerful equipment for carrying out military operations and better protecting combatants.’
Defence expenditures for the next four years total nearly EUR 2.6 billion. The lion’s share of that sum is comprised of the long-term costs of implementing the National Defence Development Plan, to which the cost of hosting our allies and the Defence Investment Programme are added.
The main investments in the field of defence go to improved defence of soldiers, modern armaments and weapons systems with greater firepower. In addition, there is a plan to improve command, control and communications systems, air defence and logistics.
The goal is to equip servicemen with body armour, modern rifles, machine guns and night vision equipment. The Defence Forces anti-tank units will receive modern anti-tank systems, the Defence Forces will be equipped with new command, control and communications systems.
Army infantry brigades will be able to develop combat engineering capabilities and the combat support systems for brigades will be strengthened. The adoption of self-propelled artillery will increase firepower, with short-range air defence of the 2nd Infantry Brigade being developed.
The volume of defence related procurements along with the National Defence Investments Programme for the period is EUR 980 million.
To ensure training, the development of training fields and ammunition procurements for supplying units will continue.
In order to ensure the readiness of the reserve army the volume of Defence Forces trainings will increase, with supplies for up to 4500 participants in 2020 and 2021, and up to 7000 participants in 2022 being allocated for reserve training exercises.
In addition to Estonia’s contribution, NATO is also supporting the achieving of the goals of our National Defence Development Plan, in the coming years the Alliance will support various developments in defence capability with more than EUR 39 million.