NATO: «Only USA spends more than Greece on national defense»
According to the General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Greece is one of the NATO allies spending more than % of the nation GDP on national defense.
In a NATO meeting in Prague, Mr. Rasmussen claimed that while defense costs have been reduced by 56 billion dollars since 2009, Greece made the smallest cuts compared to the other European allies.
According to NATO, Greece sped 3.1% of its GDP on national defense in 2008, with the div dropping to 2.1% the past two years. The drop is miniscule, compared t the cuts in wages, pensions, health and education. After the USA, Greece spends the most amongst NATO allies. Approximately 73% of the defense budget is used exclusively for staff costs. Only a fraction is attributed to NATO missions.
NATO officials stress that Greece has not taken advantage of the financial crisis to reform its armed forces, despite the improved relations with neighboring Turkey. They also point out that closing some of the 500 military bases would increase the unemployed by tens of thousands.