World Bulletin / News Desk
The ratio of defense spending to GDP in the EU28 in 2016 was 1.3 percent, down from 1.4 percent in 2015, Eurostat said.
"This is much less than the amount spent on social protection (expenditure equivalent to 19.1 percent of GDP in 2016), health (7.1 percent) or education (4.7 percent)," it said.
Defense expenditure climbed over public spending on recreation, culture, and religion (1.0 percent), environmental protection (0.7 percent) and housing and community amenities (0.6 percent).
The lowest defense spending to GDP ratios were recorded in Ireland (0.3 percent), Luxembourg (0.4 percent), Malta and Austria (0.6 percent) as Estonia, Greece, the U.K., and France spent the highest proportions with 2.4 percent, 2.1 percent, 2 percent, and 1.8 percent, respectively.
The U.K. claimed almost the quarter -- 24 percent -- of what the EU28 had in their total military bill with €47 billion ($52.17 billion).
France, Germany and Italy followed the U.K. with a combined €96 billion ($106.56 billion) -- 47 percent of the overall EU28 expenditure. The quartet's total defense expenditure was 72 percent of the EU28 total in 2015.
Euro/dollar exchange rate was 1.11 in 2016.