More funds for defence, but military capability remains low
Ljubljana, 5 December - The government increased defence spending in the budget documents passed on 16 November in a bid to fulfil its commitments to NATO. The revised budget for 2018 allocates EUR 435.6m for defence, up from EUR 400.7m in 2017, which is to rise to EUR 464m in 2019. While the figures are still much below NATO's target of 2% of GDP, the expenditure will rise to 1.01% of GDP with the intermediate target of 1.2% of GDP to be reached in a decade. A substantial portion of the additional funds will go to the army, whose state remains a cause for concern. The report for 2016, presented to President Borut Pahor as the commander-in-chief on 10 March, assessed the army's readiness for crisis or war-time action unsatisfactory. A shortage of staff and equipment, state and availability of equipment and capacity for sustained action are seen as the most critical. New defence legislation should make military careers more attractive, stop the outflow of soldiers, and bring the defence system up-to-date after 20 years, but after months of coalition wrangling the respective bills, which need a two-thirds majority to pass, are now in limbo in parliament. Procurement of new APCs also appears to be in limbo, while at least voluntary soldiers got a rise.