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Defence Budgets and Cooperation in Europe: Developments, Trends and Drivers


The security landscape in and around Europe since 2014 has experienced significant changes. As a result, in the 31 European countries considered by this study defence spending will grow by an estimated average of 8.3 per cent in 2016, compared to 2015. This represents a break with the structural trends experienced in previous years. Yet, increased defence budgets are no guarantee that the countries will spend their money better or with more intra-European cooperation than before 2015. The whole landscape of defence cooperation in Europe is particularly diversified and fragmented. The study analyses six trends which mark current cooperative patterns, for example in relation to bilateralism, regionalism, as well as the role of Germany and the United States. Finally, it discusses five driving factors, including Russia’s aggressive posture and non-conventional threats, which are likely to shape the European defence cooperation landscape in the short-medium term.

This is the first study produced in the framework of the project “Permanent Monitoring and Analysis of military capabilities and defence sector trends”, managed by a consortium of European think tanks and funded by the European Defence Agency (EDA).

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