Soldiers salute during a National Day parade in Romania. The government will boost defense spending following unrest in Ukraine. (Daniel Mihailescu / Getty Images)
WARSAW — Romania is planning to increase its defense budget by 700 million lei (US $218 million) in 2014 in reaction to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
“Following talks held with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, the ministers of finance and defense decided to raise the defense budget this year by 700 million lei, which represents 0.2 percent of [Romania’s] gross domestic product,” Ponta told local news agency Agerpres.
This represents a major increase for the Romanian Defense Ministry’s budget. Currently, the country allocates only 1 percent of its GDP to defense, only half of NATO’s recommended spending level of 2 percent.
The prime minister said that the planned spending hike will allow Romania to modernize its arms and military equipment with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine in mind. Ponta did not disclose which types of armament will be overhauled with the new funds, but stressed the money will not be used to finance additional military acquisitions.
The Romanian Armed Forces consist of about 69,000 troops, according to data released by the European Defence Agency. ■