Brussels: NATO countries at the summit in Madrid will discuss the strengthening of military contingents in Eastern Europe, as the region’s member states would like to double the number of military personnel, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Monday, citing sources.
The NATO summit will be held in Madrid from June 28-30.
Russia’s neighbours want NATO to upgrade to brigade status the battlegroups deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, according to the newspaper. The measure, if implemented, will double the total number of troops in the region to 28,000.
However, a number of Western countries believe that the battalions currently deployed in these countries do not need to be expanded, the newspaper noted.
Another unresolved issue is the amount of the organization’s total funding, which now stands at 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 billion) per year. The NATO leadership insists on a significant increase in this amount, which will allow it to act in emergency situations without waiting for national contributions.
According to some plans, this figure should be brought up to 30 billion within a decade, the sources said, adding that this plan is opposed by France, which refuses to “sign a blank check” without first reviewing the projects.