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.
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 ...view middle of the document...
U.K, Turkey and Greece
The United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece are the notable exception. In the U.K. defense spending between 2011 and 2012 increased from $ 63.5 bn to $ 64 bn, and in Turkey it increased from $ 14.4 bn to $ 16.9 bn, aiming at maintaining and enhancing the strength and credibility of their Armed Forces. Even, more remarkable is the fact that in Greece, despite its huge financial trouble and painful cuts, defense spending increased from $ 6.5 bn to $ 7.6 bn. Greece is probably aiming at conveying the message that the crisis does not weaken its determination to defend its national interests from external military threats. Also the three countries have the highest defense spending as a percentage on their Gross Domestic Product (Greece, 2.9 %, UK 2.6 %, Turkey 2.1 %) compared to the average of 1.5 % of the rest of the European countries.
In Cyprus, the extremely negative growth rates of the economy and the severe restrictions imposed by Troika on government spending inevitably exert enormous pressures for drastic reductions in the defense field. This is a particularly difficult decision for the political and military authorities when considering the strength of the Turkish troops in the occupied part of the island (CCSS, Annual Report, 2013). In 2013, the budgeted defense spending totaled to € 342.5 m.( $ 466.5 m.) , of which € 95 m.( $29.4 m.) was allocated for purchasing of arms, equipment and maintenance.
The impact of the economic crisis is also noticeable in the defense budgets for 2014, 2015 and 2016. During the current year defense expenditure is...