Fight against terrorism in Europe: What about military spending?

After the attacks of September 11, 2001 the fight against terrorism became number one priority for many nations. For the first time, a non-state actor could harm a whole nation. Then, was the time when the international community used the term “legitimate defense” against a non-state actor. Until then, it existed only against other nations. After the 9/11 attacks, many Western countries increased significantly their willing to spend more on counter-terrorism measures.

After the Paris Attacks on Friday, November 13,2015, where 130 people were killed, the history turned over a new leaf in Europe. The Paris terror attacks, in combination with the military operations in Syria, introduce a new element of macroeconomic risk in EU, that couldn’t be ignored. The terror attack of Paris, leads to a higher defense spending among EU. Many countries, members of NATO, do not even approach the goal of 2% of GDP on military spending and the burden of defense is unequally distributed.  

The French government will probably spend more on defense, but the spending consumers in Europe might be on the opposite direction. European governments have reviewed their defense spending, after years of cuts due to the austerity programs that were imposed after the global recession. Nonetheless, the spending will be focused on cyber security, fighter jets, armored vehicles and drones in an effort to defeat the Islamic State. The most immediate response to Paris attacks was this of the French state when it joined air strikes against Islamic State’s positions in Syria.

“Over the 2015-2019 period, an extra $50 billion will be added to Western European defense spending as a result of changes implemented this year,” said Fenella McGerty, senior analyst for defense budgets at IHS Jane’s.

The prevention of cyber attacks is the other main focus of spending announcements. Britain has declared that it would devote 1,9 billion pounds in the next five years in order to counter Islamic State’s use of internet, forestalling online attacks.  Germany will provide additionally 8 billion euros on defense and Italy will earmark 1 billion euros for more security. While Belgium has announced it would spend an extra $430million on security.

In Europe about $136 billion per year were spent on security. But the numbers will grow undoubtedly as the amount of threats is also escalating. In the streets of many European countries is now apparent the massive presence of military forces. A new issue has been established as the main theme of the European agenda: security against terror attacks.