Baltic States may pool finances to procure high-end military equipment
As the BNS reported the defence ministers of the three Baltic States upon assembling in Estonia’s capital city Tallinn jointly expressed political will to better coordinate strategic military purchases, which may take on a future form of agreements on joint tripartite purchases of especially pricey high-tech military equipment, Lithuanian Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene said.
Jukneviciene, on the 24th of April attending a meeting of the defence ministers of the three Baltic States, didn’t go on to forecast as to the future outcome of the endeavour in question.
“This is certainly a long-term affair, what with the ample psychological, cultural and legal obstacles. But the declaration of political will was of key importance. Perhaps we should look to the example set by the Nordic countries, which have made it down this long and difficult path. This is no simple matter, it is difficult to coordinate certain domestic priorities, let alone a tripartite deal. But there is no alternative route, we must try to harmonize the planning and synchronize budget allotments,” the Defence Minister spoke.
Defence Ministry armaments directors of the three Baltic States – who assemble on a regular basis – will be authorized to carry out talks in view of implementing the joint endeavour, said the Lithuanian official.
“We’ve vested (respective bodies – BNS) to review our legal base so as to determine whether it is compatible, with no apparent contradictions among that of the different states. This is the starting point and the signal has been sent out,” said Jukneviciene.
The Lithuanian defence minister also expressed hope of this political will reaping results in the future, in the form of military purchases. Joint purchases, according to Jukneviciene, could take on that which is “connected with the air space and especially expensive purchases”.
“I would like to believe that this can be done. There are fields that we’ll keep separate. I’m referring there to the expert level – army chiefs should present their point of view and then the political level can overview the priorities. But this is a question of future prospects, as today neither of the involved states can say when to expect the end of (economic – BNS) difficulties. Though, of course, much can be put into motion already at this time, after all, purchase planning takes a few years,” the minister spoke.
The three ministers after the meeting signed a joint communiqué, which, in Jukneviciene words, reflects the agreement to pursue maintenance of current tripartite military projects amid the economic slump.
“Discussions took place in the atmosphere of understanding. Keeping existing priorities in place amid the economic downturn and defence budget clampdowns was one of the crucial points made in the communiqué. All three countries, as written in the communiqué, declare their dedication to stick to the commitment to earmark 2 percent of the GDP to the defence budget as soon as the crisis is behind us. But we also addressed the fact that we’re approaching a certain red signal line, which indicates a potential need to look over our functions, as the clampdown has to have its limits,” Jukneviciene spoke to the BNS.
It was of utmost importance to Lithuania to hear of the dedication by neighbouring Latvians and Estonians to keep the upcoming Baltic Battalion duty on the NATO Response Force in the first half of 2010 a top priority, Jukneviciene underscored to BNS.