News ID: 100756
Publish Date : 07 March 2022 - 22:00

RIYADH (Reuters) –
Russia-Ukraine crisis has catapulted defense spending up the political agenda in Europe and could herald a new era of purchases led by Germany, according to weapons makers gathering at an arms fair in Saudi Arabia this week.
The World Defense Show, where Europe’s Airbus, MBDA and Leonardo are exhibiting alongside nearly 600 other weapons makers, is taking place amid the largest assault on a European state in 70 years.
The conflict has reignited interest in security issues after years of European defense spending cuts and fatigue following NATO failures in Afghanistan.
Germany, which has long played down the role of its military in foreign policy, Denmark and Poland have all said they will ramp up defense spending with war at their doorstep.
“There was peace for decades and people thought there would be peace forever. Unfortunately, that assumption has been proven wrong,” Hristo Ibouchev, the executive director of Bulgarian firearms and munitions maker Arsenal, told Reuters.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Berlin could buy F-35 stealth warplanes from the United States, but also that future advanced weaponry would be purchased from European consortia.
The German budget this year will allocate 100 billion euros ($109 billion) for a one-time increase in defense spending, Scholz said on Feb. 27, which is more than double the entire 2021 defense bill of 47 billion euros.
“The German announcement alone is a new era of defense spending for the EU if it’s followed through on,” manager of Jane’s Defense Budgets Andrew MacDonald told Reuters, predicting such a major cultural shift would likely see others follow suit.
Some executives were skeptical of any dramatic increase, bemoaning what they see as years of sluggish investment and predicting states would not follow through on new commitments.
“The defense role is changing dramatically,” a European executive said, predicting higher spending not only because of the war but also because former U.S. president Donald Trump’s “American First” policy underscored the need for self-reliance.

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