Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Military in Greece Is Spared Cuts

by Judy Dempsey

International Herald Tribute

January 7, 2013

The euro crisis has not been good for NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Mr. Rasmussen has used every occasion to cajole alliance members into investing and collaborating more in defense.

He said recently that allied defense expenditures had declined by more than $56 billion compared with 2009. Practically all of those cuts happened in Europe, reducing defense spending there by an average of 15 percent.

Speaking at a meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Prague, Mr. Rasmussen added that among the European allies, “only two devoted more than 2 percent of the gross domestic product to defense.”

One of those countries was Greece.

That seems astonishing given that Greece is in a deep economic and financial crisis. Greece’s economy has shrunk by 25 percent over the past two years.

During that time, the middle and lower classes — not the rich business community — have been hit hardest. The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have imposed stringent austerity measures in return for loan guarantees. As a result, pensions and health care, transportation and education have all been cut drastically.


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