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Prime Minister: US military presence in Europe is vital for European security
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels to discuss possibilities of enhanced military capabilities in Lithuania, the relations with Russia, regional security challenges and other relevant issues.
The Prime Minister emphasised Lithuania’s commitment to its NATO obligations. Over the past few years, Lithuania’s national defence spending has more than doubled. Furthermore, there is an all-partisan parliamentary agreement initiated by the Prime Minister to reach 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030, which stands now at 2 per cent.
The Prime Minister pointed out that 30 per cent of the total defence budget annually goes to the military upgrading, which is significantly more than required by NATO. Many efforts are taken to combat hybrid threats and ensure cyber security. There is an overall positive public sentiment as regards funding for defence.
Saulius Skvernelis thanked the NATO Secretary General and the allies for their strong support in ensuring security and defence for all the allies.
‘Over recent years, NATO has really made a significant contribution to strengthening its collective defence and deterrence capabilities. Lithuania finds it particularly important for NATO to be ready to rapidly respond to possible aggression, to strengthen regional air defence capabilities and take other relevant steps’, said the Prime Minister.
Much attention was given in the meeting to the Europe-US relations. According to the Prime Minister, the US military presence in Europe is vital for European security.
According to the Head of Government, the transatlantic unity is not mere words for Lithuania, and many NATO members are also members of the European Union, therefore, Lithuania supports the close cooperation between NATO and the European Union while, at the same time, opposing the overlapping efforts or structures.
NATO’s policy towards Russia was also on the meeting agenda. Without any positive changes in Russia’s behaviour, there will be no prerequisites for changing the solid stance of the EU and NATO on this issue.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg welcomed Lithuania’s commitment to the Alliance and leadership in defence spending, as well as the valuable cooperative spirit of Lithuania, while thanking for the contribution towards NATO commitments.
The Office of the Government