Poland defence spending will hit record high this year

Jerzy Muszyński/PAP

Poland will become Nato’s leading defence spender in 2023 in relation to its economic size owing to around 4 percent of GDP going on weapons, the newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported.

The war in Ukraine has prompted the Polish government to accelerate a multi-billion euro defence spending programme that includes large purchases of military hardware such as tanks and rocket systems.

"2023 will see a large increase in defence spending," Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported, adding that the outlays of the Defence Ministry envisaged in the budget law for this year had been set at nearly PLN 97 billion (EUR 20.6 billion).

"And this is not all, as at least several dozen billions of zlotys should be added to this sum from the Armed Forces Support Fund," the daily wrote. "This means that Poland's total defence spending in 2023 will exceed PLN 130 billion (EUR 27.7 billion) or at least 4 percent of GDP."

According to a spokesman for the State Armament Agency, quoted by the paper, Poland's spending as part of the army modernisation project totalled PLN 27.9 billion (EUR 5.9 billion) in 2022, up twofold year on year.

"But it is possible that the entire defence spending in 2022 totalled PLN 70 billion (EUR 14.9 billion) and exceeded 2.5 percent of GDP," the daily added.

In 2021, armaments spending was no more than PLN 13 billion (EUR 2.8 billion), in 2020 it totalled PLN 14.6 billion (EUR 3.1 billion) while in 2019 it reached PLN 9.2 billion (nearly EUR 2 billion), the daily said.

The newspaper added that the estimated value of a framework agreement, to be signed on Tuesday between the State Armament Agency, the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), Stalowa Wola Steelworks (HSW) for the supply of BORSUK infantry fighting vehicles and specialised vehicles based on a universal modular tracked platform, amounted to "at least a dozen or so billion zlotys."