Is There Money for a European Defence Force?

Herman Matthijs


This article examines European defence expenditure and more specifically the question of whether there is sufficient financial leeway to establish a European defence initiative.

In view of the numerous defence threats on Europe’s external borders: Russia, Turkey, growing migration pressures and the ineffectiveness of the external borders of the “Schengen-zone”, this article will examine the following:

-        What are the defence expenditures of the European members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and of non-NATO members in Europe;

-        Would it be possible to establish a European army with these financial resources?

The current figures are primarily based on NATO financial sources (see references). These NATO figures refer to defence spending, including military pensions and militarized police forces such as the “Gendarmerie” in France and the “Koninklijke Marechaussee” in The Netherlands.

In conclusion the article tries to respond to the question of which states would be necessary and/or potentially available for the creation of a European defence force?

First, this study gives a short overview of the defence history in western Europe after the second world war, followed by the European attempts concerning this item. Finally, this article examines the topic of this article in point three; namely: which European countries are potential partners for an European defence system.

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