NATO Visit: Stoltenberg Calls on Slovenia to Raise Defence Spending

By , 10 Oct 2018, 10:20 AM Politics
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STA, 9 October 2018 - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid a working visit to Slovenia on Tuesday to meet PM Marjan Šarec, President Borut Pahor and address the National Assembly. He expressed the expectation that the country would increase its defence spending, with Šarec saying Slovenia would strive to allocate 1.5% of GDP to defence in "a few years’ time". 

At a joint press conference after the meeting in Brdo pri Kranju, Šarec said that given that the security situation was changing rapidly, defence spending had to increase "not only because of NATO but because of ourselves".

The commitments Slovenia made when it joined the alliance 15 years ago and at the summit in Wales in 2014 must also be honoured, he said, but added that the agreed goal of 2% of GDP seemed out of reach at the moment.

While praising Slovenia's contribution to NATO operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Latvia, Stoltenberg said he expected the country to do more for "fair burden-sharing" within the alliance.

Slovenia's defence spending is currently around 1% of GDP, which puts it at the bottom among NATO member states.

Šarec therefore assured Stoltenberg that he would strive for defence spending to reach 1.5% of GDP in a few years "if the situation allows it." But he excluded the possibility of raising defence spending to the target of 2% of GDP overnight.

Stoltenberg was also received by President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan in Ljubljana and addressed the National Assembly.

Pahor told Stoltenberg that he, as the supreme commander of the Slovenian Armed Forces, would continue to strive for "Slovenia to honour its commitments as a NATO member".

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