Brussels, May 17 (EFE).- European Union countries have accumulated a military investment gap of 160 billion euros ($168.6 billion) during the nine years between 2009 and 2018, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said Tuesday.
“If we had been spending on defense every year since 2009 until 2018 the same amount of money that we were spending in 2009 (…) we would have spent 160 billion euro more,” Borrell said at a press conference.
“It has been a silent process of disarmament,” he added.
Borrell was speaking at the end of a Council of EU defense ministers in which they addressed the bloc’s shortfalls in military spending amid the war in Ukraine, which the Spanish politician said was a “wake-up call”.
While the EU’s top diplomat said he was “very happy” that this lower military spending had allowed “more money to be available for other purposes”, Europe was “now facing the consequences” of this accumulated shortage and “we have to recover from these dynamics.”
“Then we move to the question of how to recover,” he added.
Specifically, he said that in the short term it would be necessary to replenish military stocks; in the medium term, to increase existing defensive capabilities and, in the long term, to reinforce and modernize them.
“It’s going to be a big task and a big (opportunity) for our industry,” Borrell said.
For the senior EU representative, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has set the alarm bells ringing, making it clear that “we have to fill those gaps and increase our defense capabilities.” EFE