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How much is spent on defence in the EU?

07/06/2017

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In 2015, the EU's 28 Member States earmarked €200 billion of public expenditure for 'defence'. This is equivalent to 1.4% of GDP. This is much less than the amount spent on social protection (expenditure equivalent to 19.2% of GDP in 2015), health (7.2%) or education (4.9%), but significantly higher than public spending on recreation, culture and religion (1.0%), environmental protection (0.8%) and housing and community amenities (0.6%).

 

Highest share of expenditure on defence in Greece, lowest in Luxembourg

In 2015, the ratio of government defence expenditure to GDP varied across EU Member States from 0.3% in Luxembourg, 0.4% in Ireland, 0.5% in Hungary and 0.6% in Austria, to 2.7% in Greece, 2.1% in the United Kingdom, 1.9% in Estonia and 1.8% in France.

In absolute terms, the United Kingdom spent by far the most on defence (€55 bn in 2015). This is equivalent to over a quarter (27%) of the total EU public expenditure on defence. It was followed by France (€38 bn, or 19% of the EU total), Germany (€30 bn, or 15%) and Italy (€20 bn, or 10%). Together, these four Member States accounted for 72% of the total defence expenditure in the EU.

The source dataset can be found here.

 

This information on general government expenditure for the function 'defence' (according to the Classification of the Functions of Government - COFOG) is complemented with an online article.