How much does Europe spend on comprehensive security?


One of the questions stirring the debate ahead of Germany’s general election is how much the country should spend on foreign and security policy. One proposal is a comprehensive European spending target of 3% of GDP for diplomacy, development and defence. This target would fit well with the EU’s self-proclaimed role as a ‘comprehensive power’ in international security affairs.

Based on recent member state expenditure data, this policy paper shows that the EU member states are far below the 3% and that spending profiles are diverse. To strengthen the EU’s contribution to comprehensive security, they have two general options: spending more nationally or spending better through cooperation and economies of scale. We demonstrate that both avenues have limitations and recommend pursuing them in parallel.