Von der Leyen calls on Europe to 'wake up' on defence

Von der Leyen calls on Europe to 'wake up' on defence
Credit: Belga

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has warned Europe needs to bolster its defence and security in response to threats from authoritarian regimes, ranging from Moscow to Tehran.

“Europe needs to awaken to a new age of defence and security, the stakes are immense,” she stated in a Brussels speech to industry and sector experts.

“The threat of war may not be imminent, but it is not impossible. We should be prepared,” warned the President of the European Commission.

She reiterated the recent Iranian attack on Israel, “the most recent declaration of intent by the new coalition of authoritarian regimes.”

The European Commission proposed a new €1.5 billion defence strategy last autumn, aiming to enhance cooperation within the industry and encourage European production.

However, according to several industry leaders, this sum is insufficient. “Is it enough? No. Do we need more? Yes,” the European Commissioner for defence industry, Thierry Breton, said. Breton has suggested a total budget of €100 billion to fund Europe’s defence rebuilding efforts.

Ukrainian Minister in charge of strategic industries, Alexander Kamyshin, has urged Western nations to buy arms directly from their industries to support the Ukrainian military.

“Our arms industry offers competitive prices and provides simple, effective equipment,” he highlighted. “The other advantage is that this equipment can reach the front line quickly.”

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