NATO organism Defence Plans Committee released a report on 28th November, 2000 on the operational situation of its member states. This report expresses concern that Portugal has not increased its operational capacity. Complaining that the Portuguese government had increased its military budget but that this had not been translated into an improvement in operational ability, NATO forgets that during the period in question (1999 – 2001), the Portuguese Army received substantial salary increases. NATO is well aware that there is a short supply of volunteers for the Portuguese Army and therefore only better conditions will attract the best recruits. What NATO is really concerned about, evidently, is that Portugal is not buying expensive weapons systems. Complaining that the Portuguese Army’s plans for modernisation are “modest”, the report goes on to say that “most of its projects have been delayed or substituted by projects of a smaller dimension”. The Confidential NATO report DPC-D (2000) states in article 7 : “The (Portuguese) government increased real defence expenditure in 1999, but this increase did not result in increased funds for procurement, which currently stands at 4.2% of defence expenditure, the lowest proportion in the alliance”. Taking into consideration the dimension of the Portuguese economy, and the fact that this country, although its history and culture is spread through the five continents of the world, does not have a legacy of aggressiveness, the dimension of its military procurement budget seems perfectly adjusted to its present reality. Another blatant example of NATO interfering where it is not called.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON