Public expenditure on defence was reduced by 1.8 percent last year from 8.3 to 8.1 billion euro. The reduction in 2010 was 3.6 percent.
Defence-to-GDP ratio down
On average, public expenditure on defence annually increased by 2.8 percent over the period 2003-2009. In record year 2009, public expenditure on defence amounted to 8.6 billion euro.
Expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), public expenditure on defence has shown a downward trend since 2003. The so-called defence-to-GDP ratio fell from 1.5 percent in 2003 to 1.3 percent in 2011. The ratio in 2009 was relatively high, because the GDP was lower on account of the economic recession.
Public expenditure on defence
Afghanistan mission concluded
Lower government expenditure on defence is partly caused by a reduction in the costs of military aid abroad by nearly 150 million euro in 2011 after the military mission in Afghanistan was concluded in August 2010. The costs of this mission, which covered the period 2006-2010, totalled 1.6 billion euro, making it the most expensive military mission ever.
Public expenditure by military task
Loss of jobs
Staff cuts also played a part. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Defence employed more than 58 thousand people on a full-time basis, a reduction by nearly 4 thousand compared to the end of 2010. Military and civilian personnel were reduced by 3 thousand and 0.9 thousand respectively. Most jobs were lost in the army and the central units.
Civilian and military personnel by military branch
Rudolf Timmermans and Fred Arkesteijn