EU needs to spend more on defence research, says EDA report
According to the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) annual report for 2018 European Union (EU) member states are not investing enough in defence procurement and research and development projects.
EDA reported that the total defence spending of the 27 EU member states for 2018 was €223bn, which represents a 3% increase on 2017 levels.
Despite an increase in the overall defence expenditure by the member states, spending in European collaborative R&T and other key areas remains below 2008 levels.
The European agency stated that the countries are not meeting the collective defence spending benchmarks previously agreed upon.
EDA chief executive Jorge Domecq said: “It is extremely positive that defence budgets have almost fully returned to pre-financial crisis levels, with 2018 marking the fifth consecutive year of increased spending.
“Our report is evidence that member states have put a renewed impetus into defence spending after suffering heavily in the years following the financial crisis.
“Nevertheless, EDA’s findings do paint a mixed picture in terms of European collaborative defence, with a worrying fall in both equipment procurement and R&T spending in a European context. While European collaborative defence R&T still remains significantly below 2008 levels, it is encouraging that the value and number of ad-hoc R&T projects under EDA is increasing.”
Also, the study observed that 14 EU nations dedicated 20% or more of their defence budget to defence investment in 2018. The amount doubled from seven countries in 2014.
Around 96% of the total investment in defence research and technology comes from eight countries.