Belgium ups defence budget by 10%

Belgian premier Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal) has confirmed that Belgium will be increasing its defence budget by one billion euros.  The extra billion to be spent during this parliament comes in addition to extra defence spending already announced. Mr De Croo was speaking in the margin of the NATO summit convened in Brussels following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Key ministers decided on the defence budget hike for the period 2022-25 on Wednesday the Belgian leader told reporters. “This represents a 10% increase for the 2022 defence budget and it will serve to increase Belgium’s preparedness and the defence department’s ability to respond”.

In 2022 450 million euros extra will be spent on defence.  That’s an extra 10% for the defence budget.  In 2023 and 2024 a more modest increase of 275 million euros is planned.

At the news conference Mr De Croo was flanked by foreign minister Wilmès and defence minister Dedonder.

Mr De Croo noted that even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine Belgium had decided to spend ten billion euros extra on defence in coming years.

Investments will be made in various fields including ammunition stocks, the operational availability of weapons systems, tanks and armoured vehicles, equipment and protective gear for troops, military intelligence and cybersecurity as well as improvements to infrastructure and in Belgium’s ability to defend itself.

“All these elements contribute towards Belgium’s ability to respond and allow us to meet military commitments to guarantee the security of the nation and that of our allies as we are already doing in Estonia and Romania” Mr De Croo said.

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