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Greece 2nd biggest defence spender among the 27 NATO countries

By Katerina Nikolas     Jan 13, 2013 in World
Athens - In spite of crippling austerity measures, a shrinking economy and reliance on bail-out loans, Greece remains the second-biggest defence spender among the 27 NATO countries.
Although Greece's overall expenditure on defence has fallen over the last two years, the debt ridden nation still managed to rack up spending of 2.1 percent of GDP on defence.
The New York Times reported NATO's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that Greece was only one of two European countries which still continues to spend more than two percent of GDP on defence.
While Greek expenditure on healthcare, education, pensions and wages have been dramatically slashed, and taxes raised, the cut to the €10 billion defence budget was a mere €516 million in August 2012.
Der Spiegel cited the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute listing Greece as "one of the top five arms importers globally" during the 2000's, lining the pockets of German and French armament suppliers. Although there is now a freeze on new armaments purchases, the total expenditure on defence remains shockingly high.
As probes continue into the Lagarde list and further revelations are made, the issue of bribery scandals connected to the Ministry of Defence are beginning to surface again. Bribery and corruption could well feature as a key motivation in the continuation of Greek defence spending as the scandal unravels further.
More about Greece, Greece defence expenditure, Greek crisis, NATO spending
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