Forecast International: A Gloomy Outlook for Europe
Analyst firm Forecast International’s “Europe Market Overview” offers a less-than-optimistic view of Europe’s status as a defense market, and provide very relevant background to US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ Oct 25/07 speech at the Conference of European Armies. Forecast International:
“Currently only four dual EU-NATO members have military budgets that allocate the NATO minimum requisite of 2 percent of annual GDP for defense: France, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Romania… Greece – typically one of the bigger defense spenders in Europe – is reining in its budget, bringing it down to 1 percent of GDP or less through 2015. Forecast International projects that, by 2011, total defense spending across the European continent will amount to just under $300 billion…
“As it now stands, the European dual EU-NATO members have a rough total of $234.34 billion allocated toward defense among them for 2007, with the combined spending of France and the U.K. representing almost 55 percent of that total. And this is only the financial aspect – the manpower and equipment facets of each nation’s armed forces are also severely strained… defense spending across the entire European continent will reach only $266 billion in 2007, or about 58 percent of the U.S. baseline defense budget of $462 billion for the current fiscal year… many of these nations’ domestic defense industrial bases feel the crunch from lack of state orders needed to sustain themselves.
“What you have today is a Europe that seeks to project greater international involvement and security responsibility, whether through defensive measures in Afghanistan or humanitarian or peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Kosovo and areas of Africa,” [Forecast International analyst Dan] Darling continues. “Yet these governments are asking more from their downsized militaries while providing less by way of defense appropriations… So long as Europe’s public at large lacks the perception of a distinct security threat, raising defense spending will not be an immediate concern in European capitals, thus forcing governments to confront hard choices.”…”
See also DID’s “EU Procurement Challenges & Defense Weakness Debated“