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01:29 PM, May 18, 2018
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European Union Defence Spending at Euro 200 Billion in 2016
European Union defence spending

The 28-member European Union spent €200 billion ($222 billion) on defence in 2016, the same figure as in 2015, Eurostat announced Friday.

The EU, most of whose members share NATO membership with the United States are under pressure from Washington to increase military spending and buy more American arms.

The ratio of defense spending to GDP in the EU28 in 2016 was 1.3 percent, down from 1.4 percent in 2015, Eurostat said. "This is much less than the amount spent on social protection (expenditure equivalent to 19.1 percent of GDP in 2016), health (7.1 percent) or education (4.7 percent)," it said.

Defense expenditure climbed over public spending on recreation, culture, and religion (1.0 percent), environmental protection (0.7 percent) and housing and community amenities (0.6 percent).

The U.K. claimed 24 percent of what the EU28 had in their total military bill with €47 billion ($52.17 billion).France, Germany and Italy followed the U.K. with a combined €96 billion ($106.56 billion) -- 47 percent of the overall EU28 expenditure. The quartet's total defense expenditure was 72 percent of the EU28 total in 2015.

In contrast, countries in the Middle East and North Africa spent an average 5.7 percent of their incomes to defense and the figure in the Arab world was 6.2 percent.

Oman (13.7 percent or $10.6 billion), Saudi Arabia (9.8 or $63.7 billion) and Congo (7.2 or $562 million) placed at the top of the list in terms of expenditure-to-GDP ratio as Equatorial Guinea (0.2 or $18.2 million), Mauritius (0.2 or $23 million) and Ireland (0.2 percent $1 billion) spent the least money in defense in 2016, according to the World Bank and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The biggest spenders in terms of GDP were Russia spent 5.4 percent of its GDP (around $69 billion) in 2016, the U.S. 3.3 percent (around $600 billion), India 2.5 percent (around $59.8 billion), and China 1.9 percent (around $216 billion).

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