The COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect the defence field from a budgetary, industrial and politico-strategic point of view, particularly in Europe. Depending on the pandemic’s duration, its economic consequences and national and EU responses, effects may range from contained damages to a much wider European security crisis.
The pandemic is already having dire implications for the safety of citizens, social cohesion and economic growth, particularly in Europe and the US. Recent estimates predict combined GDP growth among EU countries and the UK to decrease by 2 per cent in 2020, but the situation could end up being much worse. Governments are committing significant financial resources to address the public health crisis and the expected economic recession, while tax revenues will shrink.
There is no doubt that new defence cuts will be on the cards across the Old Continent – and perhaps elsewhere. This will particularly be the case in Western Europe, where perceptions of the Russian threat are less compelling than in countries east of Vienna.
If the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe will be similar to the five-months closure experienced by China’s Hubei province – that is, from December 2019 to April 2020 – and if the economic consequences will be mitigated through extraordinary financial measures, a prolonged recession may be avoided. As a result, the damage on defence budgets would be contained.
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This blog first appeared on the IAI site.
Author: Alessandro Marrone – IAI.
Image courtesy of Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr.
The views are those of the author and not necessarily those of ETTG.