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European Defence Spending Inches Closer to USD300 Billion

01 November 2019 Fenella McGerty

Analysis from indicates that European defence spending is set to hit USD300 billion in the next 24 months, having languished between USD250 and USD 275 billion since 2005. Jane's Defence Budgets highlights the rapid rise in defence investment by Eastern European countries while several key Western European countries also boosted their defence budgets in 2019 - Germany's spent 11% more last year while Sweden was up nearly 9%.

"European defence spending grew by almost 5% in 2019, meaning that Europe outperformed several emerging markets," said Fenella McGerty, principal budgets analyst at Jane's by IHS Markit. "Beyond the overall increases for defence, countries in the region are also reorienting spending towards capability investment with nuclear deterrence and offensive cyber highlighted by the region's major spenders."

"Political factors are continuing to present a key driver as Europe responds to pressure from NATO allies - primarily the US - to increase defence spending. European defence cooperation is also a driving force as countries look to not only bolster domestic efforts but also partner on new technologies and compete for new central funding such as the European Defence Fund - all of which requires greater investment."

Departure from the EU on the horizon - but does the UK depart from European trends?

"Despite recent uplifts in defence spending announced by the UK government, the longer-term outlook for the UK defence budget will be ultimately shaped by the economic outlook, which we know has deteriorated over the last three years.," said McGerty. "Concerns remain as to the affordability of the UK Equipment Plan -that is the 10-year £186 billion plan that covers major programme procurement and sustainment"

"According to Jane's Markets Forecast, over the next five years of the Equipment Plan, almost a quarter of materiel will be sourced from the US. Should the drop in the value of sterling persist, defence imports will become relatively more expensive which will erode the effective purchasing power of the UK's procurement budget."

Posted 01 November 2019 by Fenella McGerty, Principal Analyst – Jane’s Defence Budgets, Jane’s by IHS Markit

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