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2022-03-24 at 15h06

NATO countries undertake to increase investment in defence

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa at the North Atlantic Council, Brussels, 24 March 2022 (photo: NATO)

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said that the NATO countries undertook to update their Defence investment plans by the June summit, adding that Portugal will increase its investment in equipment.

The Prime Minister made this statement at the end of the North Atlantic council, the political alliance to defend Euro Atlantic democracies, in Brussels. 

António Costa recalled that in 2018, member states undertook "the written commitment on the progressive reinforcement" of the defence budget. At the time, the commitment was based "on own resources and a strengthened commitment dependent on mobilising the European Defence Fund".

At the meeting it was decided that "when we get to the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June, each of the states must present an updated schedule on the way in which we will continue converging" in terms of investment in defence.

Increasing investment in equipment

In this field, "Portugal has two challenges: one is to up its overall defence budget and the second, not least important, is to increase the weight of investment in equipment withing the defence budget", he underlined.

Portugal has "less weight in equipment than it should have and more weight in terms of human resources that what it committed to with NATO", he added.

This investment should "improve the Armed Forces’ capabilities" and also be "a strong stimulus to the participation and development of national industry".

Industrial capacity

"Fortunately, today, in the various areas, we have more industrial capacity to contribute in a positive manner to meet, in an intelligent way, this greater investment in defence", he stated.

The Prime Minister offered the example of what has been done "in the field of aeronautics, communications, drones, equipment with the "Portuguese solider" project, textiles" to say that Portugal "must" use the investment in defence "to increase the Armed Forces’ capabilities, as well as triggering a reindustrialisation project in the country".

Furthermore, Portugal must integrate investment in defence "in the national science and technology system, so as to offer a positive contribution so that this investment becomes" "Armed Forces with greater capabilities, a stronger Portuguese industry and a more active and integrated science and technology system".

NATO is well alive

The Prime Minister also claimed that the Russian President suffered two defeats when he invaded Ukraine: "the first major defeat Putin suffered was the Ukrainian people’s extraordinary resilience capacity, as they showed their national soul and willingness to protect their territory’s Independence; and Putin’s second major defeat was giving NATO new life".

"Today, we can see NATO is well alive and has significantly deepened its transatlantic ties" he said, adding that "it wasn’t Brexit that weakened NATO, nor the fact that the United States are paying a different kind of attention to the Indo-Pacific region", he claimed.

António Costa further noted that the summit with the 20 NATO states "made a clear statement that warring states need to abide by the laws of war".

"War has laws, it has rules and therefore, there is a series of weaponry whose use is forbidden. A clear statement was made, which is in the final statement, that it is unacceptable to violate any rule of war or use any forbidden weaponry", he underlined.

Prime minister