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European states are carrying out the largest rearmament since 1950

Dec 1, 2023

After Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, EU countries are carrying out the largest rearmament of their armed forces in recent history since the 1950s, and are continuing the process of increasing defense budgets, which began in 2014 after Russia attacked Ukrainian Crimea.


EU High Representative Josep Borrell said this today in Brussels during a speech at the annual conference of the European Defense Agency (EDA), Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"Today, European governments are carrying out the largest rearmament in Europe since 1950. We are at a point where everyone agrees that we need to increase our military capability. Because we live in a situation where no one has any doubt that Europe is in danger," Borrell said.

Read also: Borrel - about a million shells for Ukraine: the EU should redirect exports

"The Russian aggression against Ukraine reminded us how critical our military capabilities are. We are talking about tanks, ammunition, artillery, hybrid threats, about space, about cyberspace, about critical infrastructure, about information manipulation, about the security of supply - everything that we could consider dangerous - everything has become a reality," added Vysokyi representative of the EU.

He noted that Russian aggression against Ukraine revealed weak points in the European security and defense system. The mobilization of the European Union and its member states, according to Borrell, was "impressive", but it was this war that exposed the lack of defense investment during the previous decades.

"Until 2014, the Europeans were going through a constant process of disarmament, when we gradually reduced investments in defense. The (Russian - ed.) invasion of Crimea in 2014 was the first wake-up call, and we have continued to increase our defense spending ever since. Last year, the defense expenditures of the 27 member countries amounted to 240 billion, which is 70 billion more than in 2014. Last year, we increased our defense spending by 6 percent compared to 2021. This demonstrates that this is a sustainable trend. A lot of money is needed to compensate for the underfunding of previous years," Borrell said.

According to him, in terms of the share of defense spending in GDP, EU countries are still lagging behind the NATO minimum figure of 2 percent, and now have this average figure at the level of 1.5 percent. This means that to reach the target of 2 percent of GDP, EU countries need to add around 75 billion euros each year, and this could be a difficult task for European finance ministers.

"For comparison. The USA spends (on defense, - ed.) about 3.5 percent (of GDP, - ed.). Russia increased its war spending from 3.6 percent of GDP to 4.3 percent last year. In 2024, they will increase defense spending by 70 percent (compared to 2023, - ed.). This is a war economy. They are doing this because they are losing a huge amount of military capability. But even under these conditions, 70 percent is a lot," the EU High Representative noted.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 01/12/2023

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