Fischer: No War Here, But We Have to Invest in Defence

Dusan Fischer of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 11 (TASR) – Rumour has it that 70 percent of all investments in defence within NATO are provided by the USA, while the remaining 30 percent comes from Europe, Dusan Fischer of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association told TASR on Tuesday.

A political agreement with NATO presupposes that every member state should invest at least 2 percent of its GDP in defence. “On one hand, people are saying that this was only a gentlemen’s agreement. On the other, representatives of the military claim that it was a genuine commitment,” stated Fischer.

According to Fischer, 2 percent should be invested in defence and 20 percent in modernisation. “We’re providing some 18 percent to modernisation and around 1.16 percent to defence,” he noted.

Based on the budget draft for 2017, which has been approved by the Cabinet, defence expenditures should hover at around €998 million, which represents 1.19 percent of GDP. The figure was 1.10 percent of GDP this year. Slovakia at the NATO summit in Wales in 2014 pledged to provide 1.6 percent of GDP by 2020.

“There’s never enough money. Three or four countries in Europe spend around 2 percent [of GDP] within NATO. This all emerges from the level of political responsibility that politicians take for national security. [They should] explain to people why we have to invest so much in defence without fomenting some artificial fear or scaring them by investing in something that practically doesn’t exist. The feeling of security is a very abstract notion. It’s very difficult to explain to people that even though we aren’t involved in any war here, spending money on defence is a must,” warned Fischer.

With respect to the US presidential election, Fischer isn’t quite sure if the USA would protect Slovakia in case of need, irrespective of who wins. “We haven’t needed saving yet, and that’s thanks to NATO as well as the EU. We’ve often counted on the USA to cover external challenges for us, but the USA doesn’t like this because it’s hated by the whole world in political terms.