High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
Vice President of the European Commission
December 11, 2022
Normally, The Transnational does not reproduce policy papers or analyses from government sites which, one must suppose, are readily available to the public through mainstream media. But in this case, we assume that rather few have even mentioned this urgently important message of vastly increased militarism in the EU space.
Mr Borell – who was recently accused of racism because of his ‘jungle’ comment – writes that “defence spending within the EU grew in 2021 to €214 billion. This is a 6% increase compared to 2020 – and the strongest yearly growth rate since 2015. But we are still far away from the 2% NATO benchmark.”
But he conveniently omits every mention of the fact that the military expenditures of Russia are about € 70 – that is, that the military investments in the EU are already 3 times higher than the EU’s main opponent to the East.
This conveniently frees him from touching upon the single most relevant question: Why on earth this huge over- or re-armament? Like in the case of NATO, there are only postulates and statements, no analysis or analysis-based arguments – and therefore no legitimacy. It comes across as pure religious faith.
Here is his EU blog post:
HR/VP Blog – Europeans are clearly increasing their defence spending and capabilities. This is what the report of the European Defence Agency says. This is very much needed. As we to keep supporting Ukraine, we must invest more together to prepare European armies face a more dangerous world.
Our work on European security and defence is starting to show results. This week we had the annual conference of the European Defence Agency. The EDA is tasked to help EU member states to develop their military capacities in a more coordinated manner and to support defence research and industry. The overall goal is to get more defence capabilities and better value for money.
This week the EDA published two important documents: the Defence Data 2020-2021 report and the 2022 issue of the European Defence Matters review. Both documents are of crucial importance to understand the European defence landscape and the current geopolitical situation has given them more importance
Naturally, the starting point of our discussion was Russia’s war against Ukraine, a frontal attack on a peaceful neighbour. I stressed the importance of our support to Ukraine, politically, economically and militarily, meaning with weapons and training, so they can push out the invader, as they are. And we should be able to do this as long as necessary, until Ukraine prevails.
This war has also been a wake-up call for all of us about our military capabilities. We have given weapons to Ukraine, but in so doing, we realised that our military stockpiles have been depleted. With conventional war returning to the heart of Europe, we also realised that we are lacking critical defence capabilities, to be able to protect ourselves from a higher level of threats on the European continent itself.
As I said in my speech, Europe is spending more on defence, and – to a certain extent – also better. How do we know? This is thanks to the EU defence data put together by the EDA. The EDA has been collecting defence data on an annual basis since 2006 and it is the best available overview of the evolution of EU armies’ capabilities.
These data are worth analysing as they tell us a lot – of what we have achieved but also of what we still need to do.