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The Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Defense

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THE ECONOMIC CRISIS AND ITS IMPACT ON EUROPEAN AND CYPRUS DEFENSE
By Dr Aristos Aristotelous

The relentless question of prioritizing and allocating scarce national resources to unlimited uses and requirements becomes even harder in times of economic crisis. In Cyprus - as in other EU countries - the tragic state of the economy and the need to exit from the crisis, brings unbearable pressure on military spending and is impacting on priorities in the defense field.
Europe
Under the burden of financial constraints and the need to protect or further enhance the welfare state, the defense sector in many European countries - especially after the end of the Cold War - was usually targeted for cuts, so as not to deprive other sectors from these funds.
Today, with the neoliberal ideas of restricting or even terminating the welfare state, and in light of the crisis in Europe, the cuts are extended more drastically than before in other fields of government expenditure. However the defense sector still is for the governments and the European publics a much preferable area than pensions, health education, etc., for such cuts.
Between 2009 - 2012, defense spending among NATO countries as a whole fell by $ 56 bn. Also among the countries of Europe in general, defense spending fell from $ 303.1 bn in 2011 to $ 280.1 bn in 2012 (IISS). Notable reductions were those of big countries like Germany, from $ 48.1bn to $ 40.3 bn and France from $ 53.4 bn to $ 48.1 bn. In those troubled economies at the South like Italy, defense spending was reduced from $ 30.2 bn to $ 23.6 bn., in Spain, from $ 13.9 bn to $ 11.7 bn and in Portugal from $ 3.6 bn to $ 2.5 bn. Under the circumstances, the prolonged critical financial situation in Europe, suggests that it will continue to be an extremely remote possibility for European allies in NATO and the EU to fulfill collective defense policy…...

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