EU reveals why it was of little use in Afghanistan – members spent too little on defence

The UK is spending TWO-THIRDS MORE of its GDP on defence than the EU average

Montage © Facts4EU.Org

Facts4EU.Org analysis of Friday’s EU defence numbers show how reliant EU has been on UK

The EU countries’ latest defence spending figures were published by Brussels on Friday – and they do not look good for the EU and its military ambitions.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The EU reveals its shortfalls in defence spending

1. EU defence spending in 2019 as % of GDP

  • EU27 average: 1.2%
  • United Kingdom: 2.0% - two-thirds more than the EU average
  • EU's largest economy (Germany): 1.1%

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

2. In pure money terms, the UK was by far the EU’s biggest spender on defence in 2019

  • The United Kingdom spent €46.9 bn on defence, according to the EU. This was:-
  • 31% more than France
  • 43% more than Germany
  • More than double Italy’s spending
  • Four times that of the Netherlands and Spain

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

Is it any wonder that the UK provided more military power in Afghanistan than any other EU country?

Military power comes at a cost. The United Kingdom’s contribution to allied forces in Afghanistan was significant. This could not have been achieved without the UK committing more of its GDP to defence than any other EU country over the last 20 years.

The cost to the United Kingdom should not only be counted in money terms. As Facts4EU.Org revealed on Wednesday the UK suffered 53% of all military fatalities by member states of the EU in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.

Where do Friday’s EU defence spending figures leave its ambitions to be a global military power?

In the last 10 years alone, according to the latest EU figures for 2010-2019, military spending amongst the EU27 as a proportion of GDP has actually fallen.

Coat of arms,
EU Military Staff

  • EU27 in 2010: 1.3% of total GDP
  • EU27 in 2019: 1.2% of total GDP

[Note: These figures exclude the UK, which was a member for all this period.]

In a future article Facts4EU.Org hopes to look at the EU’s military ambitions in more detail, in terms of how these affect the United Kingdom and the defence of the Realm. If you would like to see this, please help us to fund this research.


Biden or the EU Commission – which is worse?

The Facts4EU.Org team shares the views of many readers concerning the handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by the current US administration of President Biden. Some of the news that has been coming out in recent days almost defies belief.

That said, our report above is not about that. Our analysis of the EU’s latest figures released on Friday shows unequivocally that whilst the US Commander-in-Chief seems chiefly not to be in command of the situation, at least he has military forces at his disposal whilst most EU countries do not.

Photo right: US President's press conference on Friday.

Had Afghanistan been left to the EU Commission, we hate to think how much worse things could have been.

How the EU works

Facts4EU.Org has remarked on a regular basis how the less favourable reports from Brussels are often released on a Friday afternoon, when many journalists have departed for the weekend. Yet again this has happened (on 27 Aug 2021) with the EU’s report on how little its member countries have been spending on defence.

The report was issued by the EU’s official statistics agency and not a word has been uttered by the normally loquacious and self-promoting EU Commission.

Facts4EU.Org is pleased to put the EU’s omission right, by publishing the above summary for our readers.

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[ Sources: EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sun 29 Aug 2021

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