The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a new global threat, significant enough to make countries prioritise their budgets for the health crisis over military threats.
Verdict has conducted a poll to analyse whether the macroeconomic impact of COVID-19 will affect western defence spending beyond 2021.
Analysis of the poll results shows that the macroeconomic impact of COVID-19 will affect western defence spending, as opined by a majority 73% of the respondents including 30% who opined that the spending will be affected over the next two years, 25% who voted that it will be affected over the next five years and 18% who anticipate impact for a decade.
On the contrary, 27% opined that the pandemic will not affect western defence spending beyond 2021.
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COVID-19 impact on western defence spending
The military expenditure in Europe, one of the worst-affected continents by COVID-19, could decline acutely due to the global financial crisis triggered by COVID-19, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). France, the UK and Germany account for a large share of the total military spending in Europe, which may be revised downwards in 2021 depending on the macroeconomic situation, adds CSIS.
Germany already announced a reduction in its defence expenditure from €17.2bn ($20.3bn) in 2020 to €15.9bn ($18.7bn) in 2024, which is expected to hamper the modernisation of its armed forces and other armament projects.
The pandemic is also likely to upset the long-standing US-led liberal international order in international institutions and global governance, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. A change in the allocation of funding to the Department of Defence and other national security agencies may constrain the levels of defence expenditure in the US.