New figures from the European Defense Agency (EDA) confirm what is already well-known: The gap between what Europe and America spend on defense is only growing wider, despite perennial calls from Washington for Europe to share a bigger part of the military burden.
In 2010, the European Union countries -- excluding Denmark, which is not a member of the EDA -- spent a combined $252 billion on defense, down from $266 billion in 2008. The U.S., in contrast, spent $689 billion in 2010. While U.S. defense expenditures accounted for 4.8 percent of GDP in 2010, for the EU this ratio was only 1.6 percent. Today, only Britain, France and Greece fulfill the NATO requirement to spend at least 2 percent of national GDP on defense.
Not only is Europe struggling to maintain even a modest level of defense spending, it is also getting less bang for its buck than the U.S. does.