Iceland’s defence budget for 2019 is ISK 2.185 billion ($17.7m/€15.7m), compared to ISK 1.592 billion ($12.9m/€11.4m) in 2017, Kjarninn reports. The numbers come from a report by the Minister for Foreign Affairs presented to the Parliament in April 2019. According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the budget increase is largely due to four projects.
ISK 127 million ($1m/€900,000) was allocated for updating the radar system and military base systems. ISK 60 million ($486,000/€430,000) went to strengthening contract-bound support of host states, while ISK 50 million ($405,000/€360,000) went to routine defence exercises in accordance with NATO’s defence program. Finally, ISK 35 million were allocated to contract-bound maintenance of defence facilities.
The largest proportion of the funding goes toward operation of the Icelandic Coast Guard and Keflavík Airport, or ISK 1.519 billion ($12.3m/€10.9m). ISK 217 million ($1.8m/€1.6m) went toward solidarity operations.
According to the report, the foundation of Iceland’s defence policy is its membership in NATO and its 1951 Defence Agreement signed with the United States. Growing defence expenses are described as “having to do with growing commitments that Iceland has taken on within NATO and the increasing temporary presence of NATO forces at Keflavík Airport due to worsening security conditions in Europe, including in the North Atlantic.”