Europe's military expenditure reached record-breaking €240 billion in 2022

The European Defence Agency (EDA) announced in a report on Thursday that the EU's military spending reached a historic €240 billion in 2022. Despite the EU's record spending, the continent still lags behind other global players.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was a wake-up call for the continent. EU member states decided to dramatically increase their military spending to a total of €240 billion last year, an increase of 6 per cent compared to 2021 and a record in the EU's history.

This year, military spending is expected to reach an even higher €270 billion, European Council president Charles Michel announced on Thursday. These records show that member states are determined to strengthen European defence, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Below NATO's target

Despite these records, the EU still lags behind on a global scale. Russia plans to increase its military spending to 30% of its GDP by 2024, while EU member states spend an average of 1.5%. This is a far cry from NATO's target of 2% for its members and the United States' 3.5%.

The EU is also unable to keep up with demand when it comes to producing military equipment. For example, while it has promised to deliver one million howitzer shells to Ukraine by the beginning of March 2024, the country has so far received only 300,000.

Borrell concludes that more investment is urgently needed. "Our armed forces need to be ready for a much more demanding era. Adapting to these new realities means, first and foremost, investing more in defence".


© Jaap Arriens / AFP

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