PM flanked by ministers at the NATO summit in Madrid earlier this year

NATO: “PM Costa fails on promise”

2023 State Budget “leaves Portugal a long way from goal of 1.66% of GDP

Portugal’s government is a long way from attaining the goal – set by PM António Costa – to spend 1.66% of GDP on defence.

This is the conclusion of Expresso, in the context of the appeal given yesterday by President Marcelo, as head of the country’s Armed Forces, that it is more important than ever to increase spending on Defence.

The PM’s pledge was given as recently as last summer (at the NATO summit in Madrid). He explained that without European funds to help, Portugal could not fulfill a previous ‘promise’ to spending almost 2% of GDP on defence by 2024 – but the government could reach 1.66% by 2023.

This now seems very unlikely, says Expresso. In fact, the country will have a job reaching 1.4%, which would stand as a “backwards step in indicators reported to NATO”. For example, in 2021, the country’s contribution was 1.55%.

Defence minister Helena Carreiras insists that the government remains “committed to honouring the commitments it made to NATO”. She even suggested there could be ‘budgetary reinforcement’, for example, for the projection of National Forces Deployed on the eastern flank of Europe, “if more soldiers or equipment is needed, or if missions there are extended” as happened with the force deployed in Romania this year.

The amount of this reinforcement is “naturally not possible to calculate at this time”, she said.

In the president’s eyes, “external politics and national defence require wide political consensus far beyond the scope of legislatures”. 

But, according to Expresso, this will not be happening in next year’s State Budget.

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