Saturday

22nd Feb 2020

Cash-strapped Greece remains top defence spender

Cash-strapped Greece remains one of the biggest spenders on military defence in the EU, relative to its GDP.

While austerity is pushing others to reduce military expenditures, Greece still comes out among the top despite large cuts.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Greek military expenditure as a share of GDP, fell from 3.3% in 2009 to 2.2% in 2014 (Photo: Nikita Avvakumov)

Last year, it spent over 2 percent of its GDP on defence, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, by comparison, only managed around 1 percent.

The 2 percent of GDP is a target set by Nato at a summit in Wales last year in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Among the EU-based Nato allies, only Greece, Estonia, and the UK have met the pledge.

Sam Perlo-Freeman, director at Sipri, told this website on Monday (13 April) that the Greek military budget belies historical tensions.

Greece’s long-term conflict with Turkey over Cyprus and other maritime territorial disputes in the Aegean spurred the country to increase its overall defence budget.

The disputes have in the past almost taken the two countries to war.

The Greek defence budget peaked in 2009 at 3.3 percent of GDP, or around $11.5 billion expressed in constant 2011 prices and exchange rates.

It dropped by 52 percent in real terms to $5.6 billion last year, or to 2.2 percent of GDP.

“The share of GDP has not fallen as much as the dollar amount, as Greece's GDP has also fallen heavily - so 2 percent of GDP is less money now than it was before the crisis,” the Sipri expert explained.

It means Greece met the Nato target mostly because they were previously so far above it, Perlo-Freeman added.

Stakeholder

More defence for less money

On the eve of the European Council on Defence of 25th June, the European Parliament's Liberal group, ALDE, presented its Roadmap towards an Integrated EU Military.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban appointed controversial former commissioner Guenther Oettinger to a government council in a way that might break EU rules. Oettinger claims he did not know about the appointment.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban appointed controversial former commissioner Guenther Oettinger to a government council in a way that might break EU rules. Oettinger claims he did not know about the appointment.

Opinion

Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy

The EU could blow up the Kosovo-Serbia negotiations' reset. Should Miroslav Lajčák indeed be appointed, the two senior EU diplomats dealing with Kosovo would both come from the small minority of member states that do not recognise Kosovo.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us