BRUSSELS, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- European defense spending has fallen to less than half that of the United States, new figures from the European Defense Agency indicate.
In 2010, the aggregate total of 26 member states of the EDA was about $256.3 billion compared to $689 billion the United States -- a decline of $7 billion from what the EDA members spent in 2008.
"Comparing defense spending with other macroeconomic data, in 2010 U.S. defense expenditure represented 4.8 percent of gross domestic product and 11.2 percent of overall government expenditure." It said. "In the EU these ratios were, respectively, 1.6 percent and 3.2 percent.
"As for defense expenditure in relation to the total population, the U.S. spent $2,222 per capita in 2010, while the EU spent an average $550."
In breaking down expenditures, the EDA said member states spent half their defense money on personnel costs -- civilian employees as well as military personnel -- from 2006-10. For the United States spending on personnel was slightly less than one-third of budget costs. Europe's spending on operations and maintenance was about 22 percent to 23 percent of European defense spending, while the United States it was closer to 30 percent.
The report stated that Europeans have always spent less than the United States when it comes to research and development and procuring equipment. In 2010 the amount was 4.4 percent of their defense expenditures.