EU Military Spending - Two Views

Our first article believes that "Five years into the financial and economic crisis in Europe, and there is still an elephant in Brussels that few are talking about". The elephant is the role of military spending in causing and perpetuating the economic crisis. As social infrastructure is being slashed, spending on weapon systems is hardly being reduced. While pensions and wages have been cut, the arms industry continues to profit from new orders as well as outstanding debts. The shocking fact at a time of austerity is that EU military expenditure totalled €194 billion in 2010, equivalent to the annual deficits of Greece, Italy and Spain combined.  

A paper entitled "Guns, Debt and Corruption" clams that a real disaster has emerged from years of high European military spending and corrupt arms deals. "This dynamic contributed substantially to the debt crisis in countries such as Greece and Portugal and continues to weigh heavy on future budgets in all of the crisis countries. The power of the military-industrial lobby also makes any effective cuts less likely. This is perhaps most starkly shown in how the German government, while demanding ever higher sacrifices in social cuts, has been lobbying behind the scenes against military cuts because of concerns this would affect its own arms industry". This report holds that many research studies "show that investment in the military is the least effective way to create jobs, regardless of the other costs of military spending".  It reports that a University of Massachusetts study, indicates that defence spending per US$ one billion creates the fewest number of jobs, less than half of what it could generate if invested in education and public transport. At a time of desperate need for investment in job creation, supporting a bloated and wasteful military can not be justified given how many more jobs such money would create in areas such as health and public transport.

The full Guns, Debt and Corruption report can be downloaded at: An executive summary can be accessed at: 

The opposing view was presented in a recent New York Times article that began " Alarmed by years of cuts to military spending, the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, issued a dire public warning to European nations, noting that together they had slashed $45 billion, or the equivalent of Germany’s entire military budget, endangering the alliance’s viability, its mission and its relationship with the United States.  That, however,  was two years ago. Since then, with the Afghan war winding down and pressure from the European Union to limit budget deficits, Europe has only cut deeper.  Now, as President Obama wrestles with his own huge budget deficit and military costs, the responsibility for keeping NATO afloat has fallen disproportionately onto the United States, an especially untenable situation as priorities shift to Asia In the body of this article the author states "Senior American officials have warned that unless European countries spend more on defense, they risk “collective military irrelevance." 

The NYT article entited "Shrinking EU Military Spending Stirs Concern" can be accessed at: