Cyprus fourth in EU defence spending

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Cyprus ranked fourth among EU member states when it comes to military expenditure in 2019, after Estonia, Greece and Latvia.

According to figures published on Friday by Eurostat, €168.5 bln was spent by European Union members on defence.

Cyprus spent €450 mln or 1.8% of its 2019 GDP on defence, while expenditure on defence in Cyprus amounted for 2.6% of all general government expenditure.

The EU27 spent an average of 1.2% on defence.

Cyprus has been consistent in its spending on military equipment, as since 2014, the share of defence funding in total government expenditure increased slightly, while as a percentage of GDP it remained stable at 1.2%.

In 2019, the ratio of general government expenditure on defence to GDP varied across EU member states, ranging from 0.2% in Ireland and 0.4% in Luxembourg to 2.0% in Greece (second) and 2.1% in Estonia, which topped the list.

Cyprus spent 1.8% of its GDP for its military in 2019, 2.1% in 2018 and 2017. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 the Republic spent 1.6%, 1.5% and 1.5% of GDP on defence, respectively.

Cyprus is looking to upgrade its military capability in the face of increasing regional threats, especially from Turkey which is increasing its military presence in the Mediterranean.

The island’s authorities have stepped up cooperation with neighbouring Greece, Egypt and Israel as defence has become a key part of an alliance based on shared interests in eastern Mediterranean energy exploitation.