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European Union member states spend more than 200 billion euros yearly on their militaries, and that total is rising. But with 27 different armies, many weapons systems and structures are redundant. If they were to be merged, savings would amount to 20 billion euros – and the results would be the same.*

The savings could be used to pay for the following projects and ideas:

Free Wi-Fi and tablets in the 62 largest cities in the EU
Internet access would be free in every EU city with more than 400,000 residents. Everyone attending school or university would receive an iPad free of charge.


A 250-euro Christmas bonus for every pensioner, every year
All 80 million people in the EU who are older than 65 would receive a Christmas gift of 250 euros every year, paid out in December.

© dudla/photocase.de


5.5 million Interrail tickets handed out to 18-year-olds, along with travel money
Every year, all EU citizens reaching the age of majority would receive a free Interrail ticket along with 3,200 euros in travel money to start them on the road to adulthood.


Free charging stations for electric vehicles at all 102,000 gas stations in the EU
Electric cars and scooters would have more places to charge up. Every EU citizen could use them for free for a charge sufficient for 450 kilometers of travel.

© Lino Mirgeler/dpa


2,000 new search-and-rescue boats for the EU coast guard
The recently christened, 28-meter-long (92-feet) search-and-rescue boat Anneliese Kramer could be cloned fully 2,000 times. They could be used in the seas of the EU to save shipwreck victims from drowning.

© Ingo Wagner/dpa


Or: Cotton candy instead of 17 different models of battle tanks
The EU could simply hand out 850 billion sticks of cotton candy every year.

That was just a couple dozen sticks of cotton candy.
But we'll stop here. Too much of that stuff is unhealthy.
© Graystone/Shutterstock

* An EU army with the same capacities and requirements as current national armies would save EU citizens 30 billion euros each year, according to calculations conducted by the European Commission. A study compiled by experts from the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Centre for European Economic Research likewise arrived at savings in the two-digit billions. A European Parliament report found that between 26 billion and 130 billion euros could be saved. For our calculations, we assumed a completed Brexit and arrived at savings of 20 billion euros. Detailed calculations pertaining to each idea can be found here.