|Andrej Rezchikov. Latvia is not concerned about war
Due to serious economic problems in Latvia Riga is ready to waive certain purchases of military equipment next year and to withdraw from participation in some military operations of the NATO. This information was released on Monday, 22 December, by Janis Sarts, the State Secretary of the Latvian Military Defence.
In the beginning the authorities planned in 2009 to purchase military equipment from the American and European companies, including vessels, radars and marine observation systems, for USD 156 million. However, such plans were interrupted by the global financial crisis. Latvia is currently undergoing the most severe economic decline in the EU.
It has become evident during the weekend that international structures will grant Latvia 7.5 billion euro before 2011, as stated in the Latvian representation at the European Commission.
The European Commission is going to grant Latvia a mid-term financial support in the amount of 3.1 billion euro, and the IMF – 1.7 billion euros. The North States have also offered their assistance. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are going to award the amount of 1.8 billion euro. The World Bank will allocate 400 million euro, and the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development will jointly with CheckRepublic, Poland and Estonia give a loan to Latvia amounting to 500 million euro.
It is noteworthy that Warsaw was among the first states of the European Union to declare its readiness in providing support to Riga. Poland and Latvia are in close friendly relations within the framework of cooperation in the NATO and the EU.
It should be noted that problems with regards to the military budget have occurred not only in Latvia alone. All three Baltic States decided to cut this line in the budget. According to the general rule Brussels recommends members to the NATO allocating approximately 2% of the GDP for military expenditure. However, if Riga and Tallinn have somehow managed to deal with such load, Vilnius could only allocate a little more than 1% of the GDP for military expenditure.
Material has been prepared by the Centre of Geopolitical Research with reference to the article from “ВЗГЛЯД“ of 22 December 2008.