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).
Austria's Schiebel will deliver 700 units of the AN-19/2 Mine Detecting Set under a contract with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). AN-19/2 mine detectors are used for both humanitarian and military purposes, the company announced Wednesday
Ukraines state-run UkrOboronProm may obtain permission to participate in tenders for the supply of goods and services in the interests of Alliance member countries and partners within the framework of the Random Brokerage Services (RBS) program. Recently the NATO Support and Procurement Agency offered to add Ukrainian defense industry enterprises to the list of defense products manufacturers, the company said in a statement Monday
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The members of the European Parliament have approved a proposal to establish a European defence industrial development programme, under which €500 million would be allocated from the EU budget for 2019-2020 to co-finance the joint development of new defence technologies and equipment. The EU will be able to spend money on defence for the first time ever
The European Union launched a 10.5-billion euro ($12
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