President of Cyprus sets defense spending goal at 2% of GDP

Streaming HUBMarch 11, 2023

Cyprus will earmark 2% of GDP for defense spending, in line with other EU member states, as a means of strengthening the foreign policy bargaining power of the eastern Mediterranean island nation, the new Cypriot president said on Friday.

Nikos Christodoulides told reporters after a visit to a special forces training camp that he aims to place Cyprus among other countries, such as Greece and France, that have recently joined forces to strengthen the EU bloc’s deterrent capabilities and defense infrastructure. is “original”.

Christodoulides said, “I have also served as foreign minister and I know that without a strong deterrent force, without a strong defense, your say in matters of foreign policy is clearly limited.”

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According to official figures, the GDP of Cyprus in 2022 was estimated at 27 billion Euros. The 2% of GDP target would mark a modest increase in current expenditure on the ethnically divided Cyprus military. It also reflects a commitment by NATO members to spend 2% of their GDP on defense spending, although Christodoulides has said he has no intention of applying for membership in the military alliance at this time.

Cyprus' president on Friday announced his intention to set the country's defense budget at 2% of its GDP.

Cyprus’ president on Friday announced his intention to set the country’s defense budget at 2% of its GDP.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded following an Athens junta-backed coup with the aim of union with Greece. Turkey recognizes the Cypriot declaration of independence only in the northern third of the island where it maintains more than 35,000 troops.

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“As long as our country is occupied, we are obliged to increase our deterrent capabilities,” Christodoulides said.

The president, who beat a career diplomat to win the presidency on February 12, said his government would also seek to underline Cyprus’ status as a member of the European Union to upgrade defense cooperation with neighboring countries. .

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He lifted the decade-old US arms embargo on Cyprus in September 2022 as a key decision his government would “use”. The decision makes Cyprus eligible for “export, re-export and transfer of defense articles” for the fiscal year 2023.

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