One of the questions stirring the debate ahead of Germany’s general election is how much the country should spend on foreign and security policy. One proposal is a comprehensive European spending target of 3% of GDP for diplomacy, development and defence. This target would fit well with the EU’s self-proclaimed role as a ‘comprehensive power’ in international security affairs.
Based on recent member state expenditure data, this policy paper by Nicole Koenig, senior research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, and Jörg Haas, affiliate fellow at the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, shows that the EU member states are far below the 3% and that spending profiles are diverse. To strengthen the EU’s contribution to comprehensive security, they have two general options: spending more nationally or spending better through cooperation and economies of scale. We demonstrate that both avenues have limitations and recommend pursuing them in parallel.