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Military spending surge not making Europe safer, expert says

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-02 09:34

Delegates attend a ceremony for Finland's accession to NATO at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 4, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

ZAGREB -- A surge in military spending in Europe last year did not make the bloc safer, a prominent Croatian military expert said in an interview with Xinhua.

Global military spending grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2022, to an all-time high of $2,240 billion, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report published on April 24.

The sharpest rise in spending was seen in Europe, SIPRI underlined.

"To be honest, more military spending means less security," Marinko Ogorec, Croatia's former first military envoy to Russia, told Xinhua.

Ogorec, who is now head of the Department of Defense Systems and Technologies at Croatia's Institute for Research and Development of Defense Systems, said the surge in military spending across Europe last year actually "increases the possibility of escalation, a possible outflow of weapons and ammunition from warehouses."

Meanwhile, military aid to Ukraine and concerns over a heightened threat from Russia have strongly influenced many other states' spending decisions, he said.

Senior researcher at SIPRI Diego Lopes da Silva has said that since Central and Western European countries increased their military spending in 2022 due to the escalation of the Ukraine crisis, Europe's military spending will continue to increase in the years ahead.

Backing this theory, Ogorec emphasized that European countries have emptied their warehouses providing military support to Ukraine, and must now re-fill them.

The world is currently witnessing turbulent times on a global level, Ogorec said, and military force is still considered the dominant component in international relations. Therefore, increasing military spending was a common choice for many European countries last year.

Not only has this not improved security for these countries, it has also served the interests of the US military industry, Ogorec said.

The United States has been the largest arms exporter globally for the past three decades, and the biggest arms supplier to Europe.

SIPRI's report found that European NATO states increased their arms imports from the United States by 65 percent last year. 

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