By Gokhan Ergocun
ANKARA (AA) – Total military spending in the 28-member European Union in 2016 was €200 billion ($222 billion), the same figure as in 2015, Eurostat announced Friday.
The ratio of defense spending to GDP in the EU28 in 2016 was 1.3 percent, down from 1.4 percent in 2015, Eurostat said.
"This is much less than the amount spent on social protection (expenditure equivalent to 19.1 percent of GDP in 2016), health (7.1 percent) or education (4.7 percent)," it said.
Defense expenditure climbed over public spending on recreation, culture, and religion (1.0 percent), environmental protection (0.7 percent) and housing and community amenities (0.6 percent).
The lowest defense spending to GDP ratios were recorded in Ireland (0.3 percent), Luxembourg (0.4 percent), Malta and Austria (0.6 percent) as Estonia, Greece, the U.K., and France spent the highest proportions with 2.4 percent, 2.1 percent, 2 percent, and 1.8 percent, respectively.
The U.K. claimed almost the quarter — 24 percent — of what the EU28 had in their total military bill with €47 billion ($52.17 billion).
France, Germany and Italy followed the U.K. with a combined €96 billion ($106.56 billion) — 47 percent of the overall EU28 expenditure. The quartet's total defense expenditure was 72 percent of the EU28 total in 2015.
Euro/dollar exchange rate was 1.11 in 2016.
– Global military spending
Global defense spending to GDP averaged 2.2 percent in 2016, the World Bank data showed.
Oman (13.7 percent or $10.6 billion), Saudi Arabia (9.8 or $63.7 billion) and Congo (7.2 or $562 million) placed at the top of the list in terms of expenditure-to-GDP ratio as Equatorial Guinea (0.2 or $18.2 million), Mauritius (0.2 or $23 million) and Ireland (0.2 percent $1 billion) spent the least money in defense in 2016, according to the World Bank and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Russia spent 5.4 percent of its GDP (around $69 billion) in 2016, the U.S. 3.3 percent (around $600 billion), India 2.5 percent (around $59.8 billion), and China 1.9 percent (around $216 billion).
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa spent an average 5.7 percent of their incomes to defense and the figure in the Arab world was 6.2 percent.
In 2016, Turkey's defense expenditure to its GDP was 1.7 percent — $17.85 billion.