NATO: Montenegro must increase its defense budget

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One of the most important matters in NATO are budget increases for defense, regarding complicated safety situation. This will also be a task for Montenegro, future member of the Alliance. Only 5 of 28 NATO countries invests more than 2% of BDP in defense.

On the Welsh Summit of 2014 it was agreed that countries that invest less than 2% must increase their investment and reach 2% in the next ten years.

Pobjeda spoke with President of CDT Milica Kovačević and military analyst Aleksandar Radić, who said that it does not seem realistic that all the members will reach recommended quota in ten years.

Kovačević said that only one country reached that number after Welsh Summit, and it was Poland, thus joining USA, Great Britain, Estonia and Greece.

“A few of the countries increase, and a few decreased their defense budget during 2015. Total defense expenses in NATO in 2015 are lower than in 2014”, Kovačević said.

Members have received a note from the highest address in the Alliance. Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg invited allies on Friday to respect their obligations and increase defense budgets. Stoltenberg thinks that NATO allies must first stop the decrease, and then go into increasing the budget step by step.

“We must invest in the defense, because it is a condition for safety and the only possibility to ensure peace”, he said.

Decreasing trend started in the 1990s, and during last decade, it was a matter of debate among members.

“NATO expanded since the beginning of the 90s, and defense budget decreased. Capacities for defending Europe thus decreased as well”, she said.

Kovačević said that this subject is a matter of debates in Europe, with different approaches.

“Enthusiasm for an increase was demonstrated by a few countries, such as Poland, Lithuania and Letonia. However, this enthusiasm is not shared by all, especially by countries hit with economic crisis”, Kovačević said.

Military analyst Radić agrees that there is a long-term trend of saving money at the expense of military.

“With the end of Cold War, Americans were left interventions. Europe participated as much a it could and wanted in these activities. National budgets increased, and media created a picture of armies that are bigger than they used to be. But in fact, if we take a look at the period of 20 or 30 years before, they are much less”, he said.

Radić said that Germany recognized the issue and decided to increase the budget. He said that Poland is giving the most in Europe, while Mediterranean countries followed the decrease trend.

NATO members have set a deadline of 10 years to increase the budget to 2%. Kovačević believes that a failure to reach this number would be a hit for NATO credibility and would show that the members are not dedicated to fulfilling their obligations.

“This deadlines is not so serious for countries that took over the obligation in 2014, but it will present a pressure for those that are in positions of leadership in 2024”, Kovačević thinks.

She said that the for the future of NATO it would be significant if most members could reach this quota, because it would be a positive influence on general increase in defense budget of NATO.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro