A report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that in 2021, countries around the world spent a total of $ 2.113 billion on defense, 0.7% more than in 2020. However, defense spending accounted for 2.2% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, 0.1 percentage points less than in 2020, thanks to the rapid recovery of the global economy from the pandemic, informs Agerpres.
After a short period of decline between 2011 and 2014, global defense spending has risen for seven years in a row, according to SIPRI data. In addition, after the invasion of Ukraine, several European governments have promised to increase spending to strengthen the capabilities of the armed forces.
“Europe is already on an upward trend, and this trend will accelerate and intensify. Usually the changes happen slowly, until you are in a crisis and then significant changes take place. I think that is the situation we are in now, “said Lucie Beraud-Sudreau, director of military spending at SIPRI.
In 2021, the United States maintained its position as the undisputed leader in defense spending, with 38% of world spending or $ 801 billion, 1.4% less than in 2020 due to inflation.
Europe’s defense spending was responsible for 20% of the world’s total in 2021, while China’s defense budget, the world’s second-largest, is estimated to account for 14% of global defense spending.
As European states, from Sweden to Spain, have promised to increase their defense budgets, the first signs are that modernization and improvement of weapons systems will be the top priority, says Lucie Beraud-Sudreau.
Under these conditions, European states will have a choice between rapid purchases of military equipment from arms manufacturers in other parts of the world or a longer-term approach by increasing funding for local defense industries.
However, arms purchases are not the only necessity brought to light by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We can see that many of the challenges facing Russian forces are related to things like logistics, fuel, tires and secure communications. The purchase of these items may be less visible, but the situation in Ukraine has shown to foreign observers how important they are in a war, “said Lucie Beraud-Sudreau.
Eight NATO countries have reached the target of allocating at least 2% of GDP for defense spending in 2021, three less than in 2020, according to a North Atlantic Alliance report released in late March 2022, AFP reported.
According to the quoted source, in 2021, the eight states that have reached or exceeded the 2% target are Greece (3.59%), USA (3.57%), Poland (2.34%), United Kingdom (2, 25%), Croatia, Estonia, Latvia (2.16% each) and Lithuania (2.03%).
Romania is on the tenth position, with 1.88%, after France (1.93%), the first country below the 2% threshold.
In 2020, this club of countries that allocates at least 2% of GDP for defense had 11 members. NATO has 30 members, but Iceland has no army.
The report notes, however, that these defense spending by European and Canadian allies has been on the rise in 2021 for the seventh year in a row. This increase was 3.1% in real terms compared to 2020.
NATO countries pledged in 2014, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, to increase their defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024.
“All the Allies agreed at last week’s NATO summit that we must live up to our commitments made together in 2014 to increase military spending and the 2% recommendation,” said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General, at the end of last month. a press conference.
He added that the allied states would put forward “plans on how defense investment commitments could be met for the June Madrid summit”.
Germany, which allocated only 1.49% of GDP in defense in 2021, announced in mid-March record investments for its military since 2022, with the ambition of reaching 2% of GDP “in the coming years”.
Belgium (1.07%) and Denmark (1.40%) recently decided to significantly increase military spending.
Italy (1.54%) wants to reach 2% in 2028, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday, considering that the 2024 horizon is understood by member countries more “as an indication, than as a goal”.
Poland, a neighboring country to Ukraine, wants to allocate 3% of GDP to the defense budget starting next year.
The United States, NATO’s largest contributor, also unveiled its draft budget for 2023, which provides for a sharp increase in defense spending (+ 4%), AFP also quoted Agerpres.
The United States, which accounted for 51 percent of Allied GDP in 2021, accounted for 69 percent of NATO’s military spending. NATO’s total military spending was estimated at more than $ 1 trillion (898 million euros) last year.
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