Britain has supplemented European Union (EU) defence spending by hundreds of billions over five years, as fellow member states short-changed the NATO defence alliance by £338billion, new research shows.
Spending around £214billion since 2012, the UK accounts for just under a third of defence spending by EU nations in NATO, a policy briefing by The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) has revealed.
The UK is just one of five out of 28 alliance members to meet the 2 per cent of GDP annual defence spending target — despite all NATO members refreshing their pledge to at least hit the target at the 2014 Cardiff Summitt.
The authors of the new report state: “At a time when the Government is in detailed financial negotiations with the EU, it would be a pertinent reminder to Brussels that the UK is unwavering in its commitment to European defence and has consistently footed the bill for security on the continent.”
They argue that the “EU will almost certainly need British military support in the future,” possibly strengthening the government’s hand in Brexit negotiations.
The report, titled ‘What the European Union owes the United Kingdom’, said Germany was the biggest offender, underspending by a massive £107 billion over the past five years.
Italy, meanwhile, owed £68 billion; Spain’s spending fell short by £56 billion, the Netherlands by £48 billion, and France by £18 billion.
At the end of November, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator implied the UK was abandoning it’s security commitments in the bloc, claiming: “Rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the union, the British chose to be on their own again”.
‘Outrageous Slur’: EU Boss Accused of Insulting Military by Saying UK Ducks Terror Fight with Brexit Vote https://t.co/xJmJl6tbAV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 29, 2017
Responding to Michael Barnier’s comments, UKIP’s Veterans’ Spokesman, MEP, and former member of the armed forces Mike Hookem told Breitbart London:
“All I can say is that as a country that has spilt its citizens’ blood on a number of occasions to protect democracy in Europe, we will continue to uphold our values both at home and abroad, as and when required; Brexit or no Brexit.
The HJS report’s author, James Rogers, commented: “In recent months, the United Kingdom has been disparaged by many Europeans for its decision to leave the EU.
“This depiction is entirely unwarranted. Britain remains deeply committed to the security of Europe as the largest European military and foreign aid spender.
“Moreover, most European countries, insofar as they have short-changed both NATO and the world’s poorest people by hundreds of billions of dollars over the past five years, have their own shortcomings, which should not be overlooked.”