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LE TEMPS (Switzerland), DER SPIEGEL (Germany)

Worldcrunch

As Greece remains under the watchful eye of Angela Merkel and the IMF to make sure it imposes strict austerity measures, there is one governmental budget that has largely escaped cuts: the defense department.

Alexandre Trauvers, writing in Le Temps, reported that Greece's defense budget amounts to around 3 percent of its GDP, which is twice the amount of the European average (1.7 percent).

However, this rising figure reflects Greece's appetite for acquiring weapons rather than a necessity to fund the armed forces, which remain quite modest, with only 139,000 soldiers and 251,000 reserves.

Der Spiegel reported that Greece spent 4.6 billion euros last year on new tanks, submarines and fighter jets, which are mostly imported from France and Germany. However, as the crisis continues, the Greek Defense Minister has vowed to cut the budget by 400 million euros.

Thanos Dokos, head of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, told the German newspaper: "There is an element of hypocrisy when Germany and, to a lesser degree, France blame Greece for being spendthrift without acknowledging at the same time that a lot of money that Greece spent ended up in German and French pockets for the purchase of consumer goods and weapon systems."

However, Vautravers observed that Greece puts so much importance on the military due to its historical implications: defeated and occupied by the Axis powers during World War II, it spent the following years threatened by communist Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania, as well as its continuing conflict with Turkey since its invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

"Geographically," Vautravers writes "the mountainous nature of its northern border and the hundreds of islands make it necessary that there is a strong military presence to control the complex territory."

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Green

Good COP, Bad COP? How Sharm El-Sheik Failed On The Planet's Big Question

The week-long climate summit in Egypt managed to a backsliding that looked possible at some point, it still failed to deliver on significant change to reverse the effects of global warming.

Photo of a potted tree lying overturned on the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh as the COP27 summit concludes.

A potted tree lies overturned on the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh as the COP27 summit concludes.

Matt McDonald*

For 30 years, developing nations have fought to establish an international fund to pay for the “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of climate change. As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt wrapped up over the weekend, they finally succeeded.

While it’s a historic moment, the agreement of loss and damage financing left many details yet to be sorted out. What’s more, many critics have lamented the overall outcome of COP27, saying it falls well short of a sufficient response to the climate crisis. As Alok Sharma, president of COP26 in Glasgow, noted:

"Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 °C was weak. Unfortunately it remains on life support."

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