Contrary to statements by Polish politicians, Eurostat data shows that Poland’s defense spending accounts for less than 2% of GDP.
In 2019, government spending on defense in EU countries amounted to 168.5 billion euros, which represents 2.6% of total public spending and 1.2% of the group’s GDP.
In terms of the size of the economy, Estonia (2.1% of GDP), Greece and the United Kingdom (2.0% each) as well as Latvia and Norway (1.9%) spent the most on the military. The lowest share of defense spending was recorded in Ireland (0.2%) and Iceland (0.1%).
Poland, with a score of 1.6%, was at the top of the rate and above the average in the entire European Union. However, it was still below the 2% target for NATO members. It is interesting that the national data says that Poland spends more than 2% of its GDP on defence.
The difference comes from what the institution considers “defense expenditures.” In Polish statistics, it covers the entire budget of the Ministry of National Defense, which also includes spending on military pensions. In 2021, more than 9.6 billion PLN will be allocated to pensions, which is almost a fifth of the total budget of the Ministry of National Defense.
Eurostat does not treat these expenditures as defense expenditures. And that may be true, because it has 120 thousand. The army of military pensioners is unlikely to increase the military potential of Poland.
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