×

Europe comes in from the cold on military spending

This photo shows French army Rafale fighter jets
French Army | ECPAD | AP
This photo shows French army Rafale fighter jets

European governments are looking to increase defense budgets after years of declining spending.

According to the International Institute for Strategic studies (IISS), EU member state spending on the military in 2015 totaled 203 billion euros, almost 15 percent smaller than in 2007.

Now in 2016, Western European defense spending is set to rise by over 1 percent in 2016, ending six consecutive years of cuts.

Fenella Mcgerty, principal analyst at IHS Jane's said in a note Wednesday that there is a marked shift in attitude towards security spending in Europe.

"Larger European states have already begun implementing defense spending increases in light of the continually developing threats to domestic security," the analyst said.


An Airbus A400M Atlas four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft on display at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow.
Marina Lystseva | TASS | Getty Images
An Airbus A400M Atlas four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft on display at the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow.

The defense ministers of Spain, Germany, Italy and France have written a letter to European counterparts calling for the creation of an EU body that would oversee common military operations.

Mcgerty said the announcement also suggested cross-country communication had become key in the wake of terrorist attacks affecting Europe such as the bombings and shootings in Paris last November and the Brussels airport bombing in March.

"As the extent of Islamic State networks across Western Europe continues to reveal itself, coordination between European security agencies has become of paramount concern and the need to secure military communications remains a key challenge," she said.

In September EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that Europe needed a military headquarters to work towards a common military force.