The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could trigger more spending on defense from both parties.
Most EU countries that are part of NATO fall below the 2 percent of GDP minimum military spending requirement. While the U.K. is better than most of its European neighbors, defense has become less of a priority in recent years. (RELATED: Brexit Will Not Change UK Role In NATO, Says Secretary General)
Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, thinks Britain’s defense spending may increase in the long run, as it often come with winds of nationalism and “dreams of glory.”
“You talk to folks in Britain, and there really is an awareness that Britain needs to be its own power basically,” Aboulafia said in an interview with The Washington Examiner published Saturday. “There’s an implication there that, if anything, defense spending might go up.”
President Barack Obama said in a March interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic that “free riders aggravate me” as he described an incident where he lashed out at British Prime Minister David Cameron for not paying “his fair share.”
While Brexit could boost the British defense, it may also move up plans for an “EU army.”
Germany is expected to roll out its plans for a European defense union in July, when the national security doctrine, The White Paper, is released. The long-term plan is for member states to jump onboard to form a collective EU army, according to a leaked draft of the paper. (RELATED: Here’s Germany’s Plan For The European Defense Union)
“Germany is willing to join early, decisively and substantially as a driving force in international debates … to take responsibility and assume leadership,” an excerpt from The White Paper reads.
Politicians campaigning for Brexit used the possibility of an EU army as one of their major arguments for why the country is better off leaving the EU.
Elmar Brok, the head of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, thinks the Brexit decision moves up plans for an EU army further.
“We need a common [military] headquarters and a coalition [of EU countries] acting in accordance with the permanent structural cooperation of the EU Treaty,” Brok told German newspaper Die Welt. “From such a group an EU army could eventually emerge.”
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