A total of EUR 585 million has been set aside for next year’s defence budget, representing more than 2.1 per cent of the forecast GDP.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the 2019 defence budget values servicemembers, raising the average salary level of active servicemembers to 30 per cent above the average Estonian salary.
‘National defence begins with willingness. Individuals who earn a motivating income feel that they and their actions are valued and needed by the state,' said Luik. 'We must offer active servicemembers an honourable income, which is why we also plan to maintain the average salary of active servicemembers at 30 per cent above the average salary next year’.
‘A consensus continues to dominate Estonia’s political landscape, that in order to ensure a credible defence capability at least 2 per cent of the forecast gross domestic product must be directed to national defence. At the same time, the government remains committed to the principle that the means used in association with the hosting of Allied Forces in Estonia must be added to that sum and not taken from the 2 per cent itself,' said the minister of defence. ‘The sustainable development of national defence is ensured when we ensure the stable financing of government approved long-term development plans through the years’.
Next year, nearly 40% of the defence budget, i.e. EUR 232 million, has been set aside for various defence related procurements.
‘Large-scale procurements made under long-term national defence development plans strengthen Estonia’s military capability,' said Minister of Defence Luik. ‘With this year’s volume of procurements we are fulfilling and exceeding the NATO established goal of using at least 20 per cent of the defence budget on main procurements'.
With its procurements in 2019, the Defence Forces and the Defence League will be complementing their equipment and armaments. New firearms, communications and IT equipment, clothing, flak jackets and bulletproof vests, are being procured for the Defence Forces. The supplying of Defence League units will continue.
Within the framework of largescale procurements, Estonia will be making the last contractual payment for CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and the modernisation of Navy minehunters.
Large volume purchases of ammunition will continue, with financing in the amount of EUR 30 million coming from the Defence Investments Programme formed by the Government of the Republic.
In order to ensure the necessary training environment for servicemembers and our allies, as well as modern living conditions, investments of approximately EUR 36 million into the development of national defence infrastructure and armed forces campuses and training grounds will continue.
In addition to Estonia’s contribution, investments with the help of external aid are also being made in the development of the Tapa armed forces campus and the Defence Forces central training area, which next year will total more than EUR 29 million, with the lion's share coming from the NATO Security Investment Programme.