Print version

Defence Spending in Europe in Light of the Economic Crisis


The economic crisis has impacted deeply on defence spending in Europe. It has led to uncoordinated cuts to defence budgets at national level, but has also revived interest in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Both the EU and NATO have made an effort to involve European countries in cooperative projects, under the banners of "Pooling and Sharing" and "Smart Defence" respectively, with limited results. At the same time, the European Commission has adopted two directives regarding defence spending, and the European Defence Agency has been strengthened. While defence spending remains predominantly a national prerogative, European countries will soon face the choice of pooling certain capabilities at international level or losing them because of insufficient spending. In this light, Italy is rationalizing its defence budget, while preserving its commitments to international cooperation.