The EU's Biggest Standing Armies

As we detailed previously, the foreign and defense secretaries of 23 EU countries (out of 28 in total) agreed on Monday to take further steps towards forming a European defense force.

Five countries opted out: The United Kingdom (that's is leaving the EU), Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and Malta.

The defense union has been on the agenda for a long time and is called the Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO.

This chart shows the EU countries with the largest standing armies, according to data provided by

Infographic: The EU's Biggest Standing Armies | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

It counts in all active military personnel, so-called "ready-to-fight" elements, but not civilian employees or reservists.

France has the biggest standing army, counting 204,000 Soldiers, followed by Germany and the relatively small Greece.


Manthong 07564111 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 04:54 Permalink

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  “EU Standing Armies…..” Kind of like US bend-over dweebs or what?

In reply to by 07564111

Cloud9.5 YUNOSELL Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:54 Permalink

The purpose of these armies is to protect the elite from a pissed off populace.  The enemy of the state is the people.  As long as the populace can be placated with bread and circuses that will be done.  When things get unruly, the streets will be cleared with a whiff of grape shot.  The malcontents will be marched off to the gulags and the rulers will continue to rule. 

In reply to by YUNOSELL

Crazy Or Not 07564111 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 05:55 Permalink

>Russia invests in missile tech.A combined EU/NATO...IMHO - its a mistake to compare EU military with US / Rus. (with possible exception of the Brits - yaye BritBob).EU forces are not combat trained/battle experienced. More logistical structures of artillary & fire support. They should be considered more as National Guard units for civil disturbance. Metting like for like Blue on Red - I'd give them 10 mins on battlefield. Brits did full combat in Iraq & Afghanistan, & their Special Ops are rarely on stand down. There's just not enough of them.   EU's Biggest Standing Armies - are exactly that, stand around take a smoke & call in fire support. In a push they'll be looking for their croissants & latté's.The only good news is (as you suggest) the next major conflict will be very different from the last, and large numbers of ground troops will not be such a factor. Far more about advanced weapons

In reply to by 07564111

Analyse2 kellys_eye Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:47 Permalink

"The French will capitulate" ... France’s army did not simply surrender or run away in 1940, as ignorant American Know-Nothing conservatives claim.Contrary to what has often been said, and is also a result of the Nazi propaganda of that time, and the neo-cons hatred in 2003, the German advance (Blitzkrieg) encountered serious resistance from the French troops. In the six week Battle of France, from May 10 to June 22, 1940, the French lost, in military personnel alone, 260,000 wounded and 108,000 killed. A total of 368,000 casualties in six weeks is not something to pass off lightly. This is 5 times more than the losses of the American army in three months of battles in Normandy in 1944 (21000), and nearly the same amount than the US deaths in 7 months of WW1 (116700)! In 1939 and 1940 France was let alone (apart from only 8 British divisions). This Britain’s well-trained expeditionary force in France was beaten just as quickly as the French, and saved itself only by abandoning its French allies, fleeing across the Channel - thanks to the sacrifice of the soldiers of the 1st French Army of the North. The US never faced more than 15% of the Wehrmacht – 80% were in the East -  when France had to face alone 100% of Hitler's war machine in 1940 – plus 22 Italian divisions in the south. If in 1940 the US would have laid immediately adjacent to France the Germans would have conquered that country as well with their Blitz.     

In reply to by kellys_eye

alus css1971 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 05:28 Permalink

It is. In fact providing description as "biggest powers in EU" and place there i.e. Portugal with so low number of citizens doesn't make sense.It's in fact "RELATIVELY biggest powers COMPARING TO number of citizens"Proper link for the rating is: if you take only EU countries (according to the military strenght positions) then:   1. France (5th)   2. UK (6th)   3. Germany (9th) -  210k military personnel, 92 fighter aircrafts, 200 tanks   4. Italy (11th) - 267k, 79 fighter aicrafts, 1065 tanks,   5. POLAND (19th) - 109k, 99 fighter aicrafts, 1065 tanks,   6. Spain (27th) - 174k, 104 fighters, 327 tanks   7. Greece (28th) - 413k of military personel (!!!), 206 fighters (!!!), 1345 combat tanks (!!!)Portugal is somewhere at 62nd position - one of the weekest armies in EU... 

In reply to by css1971

Blue Steel 309 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 04:41 Permalink

I trained with Germans and Czecks. Germans have higher standards than the US, but they can't fight a war. Neither can the US, speaking from 2+ years of pure combat time.

Thom Paine Thu, 11/16/2017 - 04:46 Permalink

How many nuclear devices to make a pigs breakfast of any EU standing army?Modern world war, armies come into clean up and take possession after the major destruction done. Good luck to any remaining forces trying to take over Russia.

tuetenueggel Thu, 11/16/2017 - 04:44 Permalink

my father served under the command of Rommel 1942/1943 in North Africa.Commanding a 88 mm artillerie corps.They had italian forces near them (Trieste and Centauro ).My dad always laughed when talking about italian military in Africa: They had the fastest tanks of the world 1 grear forward but 6 gears to retreat.

Escapedgoat totenkopf88 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 09:21 Permalink

And ........where did they get bogged down in THE BALKANS???? Romania?,...Bulgaria?? the already half torn Yugoslavia??? or IN GREECE???  that was fighting all alone Mussolini's Italy??? and it still took them quite a bit. Even then the Allies  DID NOT ARM  the Cretans,The Cretans fought with WW I rifles.And here is the joke.The Greek professional Army was fighting the Germans in Rimini and the Germans UNDER THE BRITISH  were IN CRETE ,till ....THE END OF THE WAR in May 1945 ,  to keep the Cretans from rebeling.When the Main German Army already  left at the end of November 1944 for the Eastern Front.Do we see any inconsistencies here??????Now!! ..... who was Greece's ....... ALLY???

In reply to by totenkopf88

OliverAnd Escapedgoat Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:11 Permalink

The Brits were in Crete to make sure Greece's gold reached the northern shores in Egypt.  The few that remained were their to gather intelligence in case the Germans were planning to start an amphibian and/or air assault on northern Africa to aid their troops in northern Africa.  The Greeks in northern Africa were jaied at one point because they were scuffing about the royals and whether to keep them or not.  Winston Churchill 'secretly' agreed with Stalin to give Russia the Balkans but not Greece as it helped to provide safe passage through the Suez canal as the Brits saw Greece as a colony.  Come nearly 30 years later and we have Cyprus were the British forces watched as Turkey invaded Cyprus from their military listening post in Cyprus (it is were all electronic spying of the Middle East occurs).  Greeks had the European people as allies but not their governments.  The Brits fought in WWII while English banksters in Switzerland aided Hitler in buying tungsten and other materials for weapons manufacturing.  At the same time the Duke of Windsor (Queen Elizabeth's uncle and former King) was handing over French defensive plans to Germans, and the reason behind to why the French surrendered to the Nazi's so quickly.  The Queen herself married a German (Greek he is not) who had his sisters marry high ranking SS officers.  Fast forward to today and on the latest scandal of money laundering, both the Queen and her husband are on the list of Paradise papers while  the regular folk in England is struggling to work and put food on the table for him/herself and family.  The Greeks have the European people as allies and that is all that matters. 

In reply to by Escapedgoat

Pliskin Thu, 11/16/2017 - 04:59 Permalink

I'm not really sure of the 'point' of this article.  Informative?  Maybe?Numbers count for shit in a war, in my opinion.China has more than a million more troops than the U.S., meh!North Korea has the 4th largest standing army in the world, meh!Saudi have over 10 times more troops than Yemen, lot of good that's doing them!Myanmar (I still like to call it Burma!) is in the top ten of 'largest standing armies' in the world, meh!I was once in a taxi with a good mate of mine (Irish-American from Boston) he's a big fucker,, I'm a big fucker, but he's a really big fucker 6"7 250LB, taxi driver tries ripping him off, taking him (us) all around the city, then asks for a stupid price for the fare.  My mate says he'll give him the 'usual' fare (Taken the same trip many times) the driver locks the doors and gets on his radio (We were in a foreign country, so couldn't understand what he was saying) next thing we exit the taxi and 5 other taxis show up, surround the car we are exiting.By the time it took for me to take off my jacket, pull my T-shirt out of my jeans, put my wallet and phone in the bag full of beers I had with me...and assume position for a straightener..Hehe!He'd dropped all six guys, he was pretty pissed he'd gotten blood on his jacket (Not his own!)We legged it before the 'local' cops turned up!Again...numbers count for shit!That was a great night actually, I might just give him a skype tonight!