There are some new statistics out on Europe's commitment to defense, and except for a double-digit increase in equipment spending the results for 2007 don't show much improvement over 2006.
In fact, data compiled by the European Defense Agency show that in some areas the picture is worse. Research and Technology spending within the 26 EDA member states, for instance, was down to 1.28% from 1.32% -- that's far off the 2% target defense ministers agreed to in 2007.
Overall, the 26 members spent around €204 billion on defense last year, up only 1.5% from the prior year at a time that overall government expenditures grew 4.2%.
Investment accounts actually fared well, seeing a 7.7% increase to €41.8 billion. That represented more than 20% of defense spending, meeting another target ministers had set. Within that total, procurement was up 11%.
Personnel costs still represented more than half of defense expenditure, but the number is coming down.
The EDA data also shows that Europe, in 2007, deployed fewer troops than the year before, both in absolute terms and relative numbers. Only an average of 4.2% of the force structure deployed last year, down from 4.3% the prior year.