How much influence does the EU have over Britain’s decisions? Lets turn our attention to our defence policy. Put simply the answer is virtually none. If you go to the UK government web site, look at the Defence page and then scroll down through it, as I did, you will probably not find the word Europe anywhere.
Check it out at UK Gov. Defence
I investigated our defence spending to see what proportion is European based. I expect some countries are not that open about their figures but here is a snapshot of what I found. First of all here is the overall spending.
According to IHS, 2015:-
US $569.3bn, China $190.9bn, United Kingdom $66.5bn, Russia 53.2bn, France $52.7bn, India $49.7bn.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies – World Military Balance 2016 (for 2015)
US $597.5bn, China $145.8bn, Saudi Arabia $81.8bn, UK $56bn, Russia $51bn, India $47bn.
And according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s “015 Fact sheet for 2014, we have.
US $610bn, China $216bn, Russia $84bn, Saudi Arabia $80.8bn, France $62.3bn, UK $ 60.5bn.
So take your pick but it is still a lot and I am surprised at how much we spend.
Now lets look at money spent by the EU on defence. EUFOR or European Union Force is the generic name for a rapid reaction force operated by the EU as part of the Common Security and Defence policy.
The most high profile action of this force has been peace keeping in Bosnia and Herzegovina which cost about $23 million. Note – million not billion. Other areas where they operate are Tchad, and the Congo.
It is difficult to find figures for their current overall spend, but for 2011, total spending on European defence was 303 million euros (Euros and dollars are about equivalent) so that is $0.3bn
The UK contribution to the costs in 2013 were 108million euros. reference
Now let us summarise. The UK spends about $60bn a year on our national defence. The EU has no influence on our defence policy. We contribute about $0.1bn to the European defence force which mainly carries out peace keeping missions.
Defence, then, is another major area where British policy is completely in our hands and the EU has no influence or power over us at all.
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