BP eng military expenditure


Military spending on the rise in the world

World military spending rose by 3.6% between 2018 and 2019, with a total increase of 7.2% between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, it amounted to a staggering $1,917 billion (€1,782 billion).
However, the figures presented are well below the reality. Indeed, the public subsidies granted to the armaments industry are not taken into account, as is the case for public research and teaching, sponsored by the military-industrial complex (for example, Polytechnic research is supported by the CEA or IRSEM).

In Europe - The European Defence Fund (EDF)

The European Defence Fund was set up to stimulate research and innovation in the defence industry for EU members.
Although a €13 billion was allocated for 2021-2027, the current budget of the EDF is €9 billion, less than the amount France, Germany, Italy and Spain had been expecting but nonetheless, a huge amount.
On June 16th, 2020, 19 pan-European (industrial and technological) €205 million worth of projects were selected. A total of €500 million will be allocated for the period 2019- 2020.

Military expenditure in France

In 2020, the budget of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces amounted to €37.5 billion.
France increased its military spending by 1.6% between 2018 and 2019 and by a total of 3.5% between 2010 and 2019.
By the end of the period, it ranked 6th among countries with the highest military expenditure (according to SIPRI, which includes military and national "gendarmerie expenditure).

French expenditure accounted for 2.6% of world military expenditure (2019). There was a 3.9% increase for Western Europe between 2018 and 2019, a region of the world without inter-state armed conflict since 1945.

The cost of external operations for France

Budget provisions for military operations abroad (OPEX) were €450 million in 2017, €650 million in 2018, €850 million in 2019 and €1.1 billion in 2020.
These budgetary provisions have been often deliberately underestimated; their real cost is between 1 and 1.2 billion euros per year. The tactic used is the following: the armed forces presented a calculatedly smaller budget, knowing that the government would make up the shortfall by drawing on other ministerial budgets: thus the total real expenditure was spread over several ministries. It is only since 2020 that the budget for the OPEX has been estimated at €1.1 billion.
The cost of the Afghanistan war amounted to about €3.5 billion between 2001 and 2014.
According to Gérard Languet, former Defence Minister, the military intervention in Libya cost around €300 million over 240 days, more than €1 million per day. In Libya, approximately €100 million worth of munitions alone would have been used.
During the Serval operation, France would probably have spent €647 million between January 2013 and August 2014, i.e. €1 million per day.
The cost of weapons

France plans to build a new aircraft carrier in anticipation of the ‘Charles-de-Gaulle’s’ withdrawal from service which was scheduled for 2040.
This project – estimated at a minimum cost of €5 billion – has been finally approved in October 2020 by President Macron who chose the nuclear propulsion option rather than a classic propulsion.

After the sector mentioned the economic advantage of the launch of a second aircraft carrier, giving the impression of a vulgar incitement to consumption as in the supermarket with a Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer, the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, and the Senate, pronounced themselves in favour of a nuclear propulsion inApril 2020: an option which raises the bill to €7 billion, at least.
Meanwhile, the French government has announced a recession of 11% of the GDP after the epidemic crisis while encouraging the French to invest in the national economy.
This Cornelian choice for the future aircraft carrier is not the subject of any public debate on the costs or the relevance of the nuclear propulsion for the security of all.
On July 8th, 2020, the United States announced the sale of three Hawkeye E-2Ds to France for 1.7 billion euros: delivered in 2027 and included into the army's annual budgets by then.
While 1.7 billion euros are being deployed for new aircraft and a minimum of €5-7 billion for an aircraft carrier: since the 1st of March 2020, 193 redundancy plans have been launched in France, threatening 27,053 jobs.

Military spending, health and education

In France

The 2020 budget of the Ministry of the Armed Forces is the largest ministerial budget. However, 2020 has been a difficult year in that regard since the government wanted to reduce the public deficit in the tense context of the 'Yellow Vests' demonstrations.
The Social Security budget has considerably been impacted, while the Army budget has increased for the third consecutive year.
At the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic in March and April 2020, France was struggling to find protective masks for its healthcare workers and citizens, seemingly incapable of producing any domestically.

At the end of the first wave, the Economics Minister, Bruno Le Maire, announced that the government was releasing a €15 billion support plan for the aeronautics industry, in contrast to the paltry €8 billion allocated to health services.
The 2019 education budget increase of €1 billion hid the inclusion of the Universal National Service (SNU), a form of military service created by President Macron.

Around the world

Prioritising the military over health is not unique to the French government. For example, one day's military expenditure in the world corresponds to the World Health Organisation's annual budget.
A recent case illustrates the point: in 2012, India agreed to buy 36 Rafale aircraft from France for $8.7 billion. However, the deal was mired in controversy because the Indian Ministry of Defence claimed that the price agreed was higher than it should have been. Following a failed court case, the deal went ahead. The first delivery took place in 2020, the same year that India spent only 1.15% of its Gross National Product (GNP) on health, one of the lowest per capita health budgets worldwide. It was also the year when the Indian government claimed that it did not have the funds to help the millions of workers left destitute by covid-19.
France regards itself as a principled world leader; as such, surely it bears some moral responsibility to ensure that the inhabitants of a client country can enjoy their most basic rights, human dignity, access to food and clean water, sanitation, adequate housing, health care and education before selling them arms? The sale weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also represents a potential violation of Article 6 of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).


 You can download this document in PDF format by following this link: Briefing paper: Arms trade and military expenditure