Serbia invests the most in defence out of all regional countries

Serbia is the leading country in the region in terms of military spending, which amounted to two percent of its gross domestic product in 2023, followed by North Macedonia with 1.7 percent and Albania with 1.6 percent, reports the European Western Balkans website, citing data collated in 2024 by the Balkan Defence Monitor.

As NATO members, this year, Albania and North Macedonia will probably overtake Serbia in military spending, with Serbia expected to fall into third place by spending 1.8 percent of its GDP on defence.

Croatia, another NATO member, has kept its defence spending at around 1.5 percent of its GDP over the past three years, according to the third edition of the Balkans Defence Monitor.

Meanwhile, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina lag behind the rest of the Balkans, with only one percent and 0.7 percent of projected defence spending in 2023 respectively, according to EWB.

Most countries in the region saw a rise in international military exercises last year. Serbia, on the other hand, has maintained a ban on military exercises since the start of the war in Ukraine, lifting it only once in 2023 – to participate in the Platinum Wolf 2023, co-organised by the United States. NATO and the US remain the dominant exercise partners for all the Western Balkan countries.

In 2023, North Macedonia participated in 31 exercises, compared to 20 in 2022. In the case of Croatia, the number of exercises rose sharply from 14 in 2022 to as many as 66 in 2023.

(Vreme, 26.03.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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