Let US enter EU arms deals, says Lithuanian minister – POLITICO

LONDON — European countries should not exclude American companies from defense procurement, Lithuania’s Deputy Minister of National Defense Greta Monika Dugude told Politico.

„Our Atlantic seaboard makes us stronger and allows us to deter any adversary, any attempt to cross our border,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a DSEI security event in London on Tuesday.

„We have to compete with our allies and friends when it comes to innovation, but generally with regard to procurement, opening up the defense market not only to European actors but also to transatlantic partners,” he said.

How to deal with companies outside the continent has become a thorny political issue as European countries increase defense budgets in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the EU has become a significant player. Defense procurement.

Heavyweights like France pushing In the name of strategic autonomy, European money should be spent by European countries on European companies rather than relying on foreign contractors.

Earlier this month, Italian shipmaker Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero told POLITICO that allowing non-EU companies to access EU funding would be „madness.”

That’s not a close-up of the front rows.

Central and Eastern European countries – directly threatened by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and historically close to Washington on security issues – are keen to buy US weapons, including Tanks, Rockets And Fighter planes.

Along with national budgets, money from the European Defense Fund can also go to US companies when they partner with European defense contractors, Tučkutė said.

„If the European Defense Fund aims to finance projects conducted with one or more European actors, it should be granted, but all European actors should decide, and we know what the views are from different angles,” said Tučkutė.

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The war prompted a drastic review of Lithuania’s own defense spending. Before Russia illegally annexed Crimea and unleashed a war in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Lithuania spent less than 1 percent of its GDP on its military. This year Budget 2.5 percent of GDP, well above the NATO target of 2 percent.

Vilnius also casts a wide net for its weapons. Baltic country Purchased in recent months 18 Caesar howitzers from Nexter, France and Planning to buy German Panther 2 tanks. It is Norway’s third largest destination for arms exports. According to a report By Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

It is buying Switchblade combat drones, Javelin anti-tank systems, helicopters and HIMARS missile systems from the US.

„If we start competing with each other instead of joining forces, we’re going to lose momentum, and our rivals like China and adversaries like Russia are not waiting,” Tučkutė said.

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