Von Der Leyen: War May Not Be Imminent But It Is Not Out Of The Question!

World » EU | February 28, 2024, Wednesday // 12:30
Bulgaria: Von Der Leyen: War May Not Be Imminent But It Is Not Out Of The Question! @Wikimedia Commons

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed harnessing windfall profits from frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine. Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during a debate on European security and defense, von der Leyen emphasized the urgent need for Europe to take responsibility for its own security amidst escalating tensions.

"The threat of war may not be immediate, but it is not ruled out," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

She called for the danger of war not to be exaggerated. However, according to her, Europe must be prepared.

The president of the EC added that the stakes are high - "our freedom and our progress are in danger".

"Putin is using peace to prepare for war. Europe urgently needs to wake up. Many European illusions have been shattered - that peace is permanent, that Putin will prefer economic progress to the destruction of Ukraine, that Europe is doing enough for security. There is no room for more illusions," she added.

In her words, in its essence, European sovereignty is about being responsible for ourselves, for what is important to us, for our ability and will to protect our interests and values ourselves. The renewal of the European armed forces is an urgent matter.

Von der Leyen also stressed the importance of utilizing the funds from frozen Russian assets as a symbolic gesture to enhance Ukraine's defense capabilities and safeguard Europe. She underscored the critical nature of the current geopolitical landscape, emphasizing that Europe cannot afford to be complacent or indecisive in the face of emerging threats.

"The time to act is now," declared von der Leyen, emphasizing the imperative of reinforcing Europe's defense posture to counter potential aggression from adversaries like Russia.

Highlighting the need for strategic foresight and proactive measures, von der Leyen outlined key initiatives aimed at strengthening Europe's defense capabilities. She emphasized the importance of restoring, supplying, and modernizing the armed forces of member countries, calling for investments in next-generation operational capabilities and defense industrial capacity.

Central to von der Leyen's vision is the concept of European defense solidarity and cooperation, as evidenced by the proposed European Industrial Defense Strategy and Defense Investment Program. These initiatives aim to prioritize joint procurement in defense, fostering collaboration and synergy among member states to overcome fragmentation and enhance interoperability.

Moreover, von der Leyen announced plans to establish a Defense Innovation Office in Kyiv, signaling closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union in the realm of defense. Additionally, she urged member states to support increased funding for joint European defense projects through institutions like the European Investment Bank, particularly to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the defense sector.

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Tags: European Commission, von der leyen, Ukraine, defense

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