By Burak Bir
ANKARA (AA) - Total defense expenditures of the 26 EU member states, excluding Denmark, rose to €214 billion ($224.9B) in 2021, the bloc's defense agency said Thursday.
The expenditures marked the seventh year of consecutive growth for the EU states, said the European Defense Agency (EDA) in its data comparing the 2020-2021 period.
In the report, the agency, which has been collecting defense data annually since 2006, also stated that defense expenditures grew 6% compared to 2020, which is the strongest yearly growth rate since the rebound started in 2015.
However, the finding revealed that collaborative European defense spending remains below benchmarks despite an increase in spending on European collaborative defense equipment procurement.
"To avoid further fragmentation of the EU defence landscape and foster coherence, Member States need to use the announced budget increases efficiently and coordinate their defence plans through joint European defence R&D [research and development] and acquisition programmes," it said.
Meanwhile, EU states' announcements since the beginning of Russia’s war on Ukraine signal that the increase in expenditures is likely to continue in the years ahead, the report added.