A new study by seven defence research institutes examines the defence expenditures of 31 European countries. The study estimates that expenditures in 2016 will increase 8,3% compared to 2015. This is a clear break in the trend of recent years and indicates that the deteriorating security situation in Europe has driven the growth in spending. Defence spending has been decreasing for more than twenty years, but the especially noticeable downswing since 2008 has now been halted.
The increase is spread unevenly among the 31 countries in the study. In the east- and central-European countries, expenditures have risen by 19,9% and in southwestern Europe by 9,2%. The increase for western Europe is 2,7% and for the Nordic countries, 1,6%. Those increases can eventually lead to an expansion of European military capacity.
Several sets of issues will receive further study in the project. To more precisely understand the implications of the current trend of increasing expenditures, initial data collection and analysis are required. Describing what is driving the greater defence spending in each country also needs more study.
The study has been developed by a consortium, including FOI, of seven European defence research institutes. The project runs to the end of 2018 and has been commissioned by EDA, the European Defence Agency.