António Costa said investment in defense can exceed the commitment made with NATO and reach 1.89% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2022.
Portugal’s prime minister said on Thursday that investment in defense can exceed the commitment made with NATO and reach 1.89% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2024 if Portugal can get the necessary European funds.
“We are currently at 1.55% and we made a commitment if we could get the necessary European funds, to reach 1.89% in 2024, and we have been making this trajectory year after year,” said António Costa, in response to the leader of Chega, André Ventura, during the debate on the 2022 budget proposal.
Ventura asked if the government would increase the funds allocated to defense, as the president asked in his speech on April 25, and Costa replied that Portugal was one of the countries that is investing the most.
André Ventura said that the government had “heard the president’s complaint” when he “said that defense expenditures should be taken seriously”.
He asked whether “the PS will increase the amounts foreseen for defense”, adding that “it is really necessary to honour the armed forces and the national defense system”.
In response, Costa stressed that in 2018 he signed “a commitment to increase spending as a percentage of GDP for national defense,” setting the goal of evolving to 1.69% by 2024, admitting later that this figure could rise to 1.89% in 2024 if Portugal manages to get the necessary European funds.
The prime minister also pointed out that “except Greece, France and most Eastern European countries, Portugal is among the European Union countries that are currently investing the most in defense as a percentage of their GDP.
Costa said that Portuguese investment as a percentage of GDP “is higher than in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium or Spain.
“And we will continue to increase the defense investment in GDP terms to improve the capacity of our armed forces, to mobilise our scientific and technological system, and our industries in the area of defense. That is a path that we are going to pursue and we are going to continue to increase defense investment,” he stressed.