As a consequence of the challenging security environment, emerging or re-emerging global actors, such as Russia, China and India, have increasingly boosted their defence spending (Figure 3) and upgraded their military capabilities. At the same time, and largely due to the effects of the economic and financial crisis, defence spending in the EU-28 had experienced a significant fall for almost a decade and only rose again for the first time – by 2.3 % – in 2014. The response to the need for a stronger and more capable EU in security and defence matters has been a particularly prominent issue on the Juncker Commission’s agenda in recent years.
According to the Global Peace Index, an annual report produced by the Australian think-tank, the Institute for Economics and Peace, 2017 was marked by a slight increase in peacefulness, for the first time since 2014. But the report also noted that, in 2017, violence has cost the global economy US$14.3 trillion in purchasing power parity terms – equivalent to 12.6 % of the world’s GDP. War alone has cost the global economy US$1.04 trillion. At the same time, peacebuilding expenditure is an estimated US$10 billion (less than one per cent of the cost of war). In this context, the EU’s holistic approach to the promotion of peace, as outlined in Chapter 2, is particularly relevant, not only to fighting the roots of the disruption of peace, but also to reducing the cost of ‘non-peace’ in favour of investment towards development and peace.