Europe and the world are investing in war

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baptiste_heschung/Pixabay The largest increase in military spending (+13%) was recorded in Europe and was largely due to Russian and Ukrainian spending. However, military aid to Ukraine and concerns about the increased threat from Russia strongly influenced the spending decisions of many other countries, as did tensions in East Asia.

Military spending the highest in over 30 years

Last year, military spending in Europe was the highest since the Cold War, with global spending hitting a new record of around €2.04 trillion, or 2.2% of GDP, according to its latest report by the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research (Sipri). global GDP. In addition to the war in Ukraine, “which is straining European budgets,” the report also points to “growing and unresolved tensions in East Asia” as the cause of the global increase in defense spending, especially in recent months. Compared to 2021, global defense spending increased by 3.7 percent, but this percentage is multiplied in Europe, where European countries spent on arms by 13 percent. more than a year earlier. This is the highest annual growth in three decades. Compared to 2013, European military spending has increased by as much as 38 percent. In real terms, these countries’ spending exceeded for the first time that of 1989, that is, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Despite this, according to Sipri experts, we have not yet reached the spending peak, and over the next ten years we will continue to see an acceleration of the upward trend.

A new arms race

In 2022, the United States once again made by far the largest military spending ($877 billion). China, with the second-largest defense budget in the world, estimated at $292 billion, increased its spending by 4.2 percent. “China is investing heavily in its navy, ostensibly to increase strike power towards Taiwan and across the South China Sea,” the report said. It is therefore not surprising that in this situation also Japan’s military spending in 2021-2022 increased by 5.9 percent. reaching USD 46 billion, or 1.1 percent. GDP. This was the highest level of Japanese military spending since 1960. The new national security strategy published in 2022 sets out ambitious plans to increase Japan’s military capabilities over the coming decade in response to growing threats from China, North Korea and Russia.

Europe is not left behind

In 2022, Ukraine increased its defense spending almost sevenfold. Its $44 billion military budget was roughly one-third of its GDP, not counting billions of dollars worth of foreign donated arms.
In Russia, military spending increased by 9.2 percent. – to USD 86.4 billion in 2022. This corresponded to 4.1 percent. Russia’s GDP in 2022, up from 3.7% in 2022 GDP in 2021. However, the authors of the report emphasize that these data are highly uncertain, given the increasing lack of transparency of the Russian administration since the beginning of the war. Germany spent EUR 50.8 billion on its defense last year (the figures also include donations to Ukraine) and, similarly to the previous year, occupy seventh place behind Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, India and Russia. In Spain, military spending increased by 7.3%. up to EUR 18,500 million, which corresponds to 1.5 percent. GDP. In retrospect, Spain has increased its defense spending by 28%. over the last decade. The invasion of Ukraine had an immediate impact on military spending decisions in Central and Western Europe, which introduced multi-year plans to increase it. The largest increases were recorded in Finland (+36%), Lithuania (+27%), Sweden (+12%) and Poland (+11%).

The global arms trend

These movements confirm that Europe, in line with the global trend, has fully entered a new stage of armaments. After a significant decrease in defense spending in the 1990s, a reversal of direction has taken place since the beginning of the 21st century, and recent events in Ukraine have triggered a process measured both in economic and political terms. One of the most significant political shifts took place with our western neighbours, where just a year ago talking about armament was politically incorrect and meant an election disaster. Now the government no longer has to hide its intentions on military spending. The new defense minister, Social Democrat Boris Pistorius, last week in the Bundestag spoke in strong words in favor of strengthening the Bundeswehr. “Defence is expensive and will be even more expensive in the coming years,” he said. Sources: abc.es and sipri.org

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