Greek Defense Spending Set For Hit

defenseGreece’s battered defense budget will be cut another 100 million euros in a trade-off the country’s coalition government made with international lenders to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on restaurants and tavernas and boost a record-breaking tourist season.

The VAT was slashed from 23 to 13 percent for the rest of the year in what Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said was a test to see if it helps bring in more tourists.

For many Greeks, austerity during a crushing economic crisis has replaced Turkey as the perceived enemy, given they are more worried about survival than the likelihood of clashing with their neighbor.

Samaras reached a compromise with the Troika to pare back military spending despite 30 percent reductions during the last three years. Greece allocated the military 5.8 billion euros, or 2.3 percent of GDP, down from 3.2 percent in 2009 when the economic crisis began.

Critics say Greece overspent for decades, noting it ranks 10th in the world among conventional weapons importers. “Many arms deals, including Greece, have to do with a political statement and not a strategic assessment of whether the country needs the weapons,” Carina Solmirano, researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, told SETimes.

Military leaders say the budget cuts, including salary reductions of up to 37 percent, have affected the country’s defense capability and the military’s morale.

About 40 percent of headquarters personnel and facilities have been pared, a fifth of admirals and generals have retired without being replaced, two headquarters corps closed and up to 25 percent of units disbanded, including half of Air Force combat units that regularly track Turkish fighter jets.

Solmirano said some of the cuts will likely not have a large impact on military capability. “They could just delay programs for the future, such as research and development in weapons systems.”

Until the effect of the new cuts is calculated it will be hard to determine the overall impact on the military, said Ioannis Michaletos of the Athens-based Institute for Security & Defence Analysis.

“If cuts exceed 100 million euros there are going to be reductions in foreign missions,” Michaletos told SETimes, such as its annual allocation of 120 million euros to participate in NATO’s Afghanistan mission.

Michaletos explained Greece is already planning to shut down bases and reconstruct the order of battle. “This will continue for the foreseeable future and is a good thing, since it saves money and it does not reduce capabilities.”

But, he added, NATO participation will also be affected, depending on the size of the budget cuts, and will scale back future plans.  NGreece increased military spending 51 percent between 2002 and 2009, with the threat of Turkey, real or imagined, as the driving force.

Previous cuts forced the Hellenic Air Force to ground many of its F-16 multi-role fighters because of a lack of spare parts and maintenance and the army could not accept 400 US Abrams tanks because it could not afford to transport them.

Greece has bought state-of-the-art submarines, hundreds of Leopard tanks, howitzers, Mirage and F-16 jets since the late 1990s, and even while administering significant austerity measures.

The on-going and future reductions are bound to take a toll, according to Stavros Karkaletsis, defense specialist and head of the Hellenic Centre for European & International Analysis.

“If there is a new cut, we will cross red lines for safety and security. The cuts have been in logistics and weapons and we did not buy, no ships or planes, and this will be especially bad for the Navy and Air Force.”

(Used with permission of Southeast European Times,


  1. well if u spent a little less money on military,as normal governments do,u would still have an economy..

  2. If our government wasnt so corrupt and promoting corruption to the civil service and private sector elites Greece would be like Switzerland. Small population with a realistic GDP of around 250 billion Euros is a rich country and a high standard of living for its citizens. Just a few who rule havent beem punished and need to be hanged.

  3. What about NEW lands that Greece acquired after 1913 how such invasions be protected?!!!
    Military the only solution……

  4. ok then invest in military,buy 200 more modern tanks etc.until u run out of EU money to the point that u wont be able to pay even the salary of your pm

  5. WAKE UP PEOPLE……..SYRIZA ismade up by communist, Stalinist, Marxist, anarchist and murdering black block nationalizing our banks, stealing our money and flooding Greece with scum.

    Tsipras the donkey who idolizes Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavaz wants to turn Greece into the toilet hole that his idols created in those countries.

    I rather vote for Samaras and Golden Dawn then let them destroy Greece…


    According to leaked documents, the American embassy in Ankara insists that Turkey planned to cause a convulsion at the Greek abuttals in order to invade the north side of Evros.

    This document is extremely important. After its publication, the U.S. CONFIRMED AN ATTACK WAS ABOUT TO BE CONDUCTED AGAINST GREECE IN 2003. In addition they imply that the Turkish Army WILL CONTINUE to cause such convulsions in their relationship with Greece.

    Greece is completely justified in spending large sums of money on defense due to the threat posed to Greek national security by Turkey!

  7. “The military isn’t just bleeding — it’s boiling,” Hellenic Navy officer Yannis Katsaroulis said in an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Well.
    Katsaroulis said Greek military officers warned Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos of growing unrest. They said the budget cuts, which reached nearly 30 percent since 2010, were pushing many of the officers to vote for right-wing parties and with many officers leaving.
    “We recently met with the defense minister to voice our anger about the cuts and one of us, a brigadier, piped up and said that we are all dead set on voting for (the far right-wing) Golden Dawn in the next elections. Don’t be surprised if tanks roll out onto the street and a military rebellion occurs. Everything is possible at this point.” Katsaroulis added.

  8. first of all that war you talk about was to be conducted was a part of an alleged coup attempt within military that soon foiled and second greece cannot possibly militarily defend its entire territory,i mean hundreds of islands itself is a logistical nightmare no nation is mighty enough for that,putting more efforts on diplomacy is the more feasible option