European Council Head Michel: Europe needs defense union
President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has called for the development of a European “defense union,” which, in his opinion, was born with the start of European Union military assistance to Ukraine.
“I feel that the time has come to create a real union of defence, coupled with a true defence single market,” Michel said at the annual conference of the European Defense Agency (EDA) in Brussels on Thursday.
“First, we must fortify our European continent. We must project strength and protection. We must beef up our European defence. A stronger and more capable European defence will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security, of which NATO remains the foundation,” the head of the European Council said.
According to him, “some ideas are not consensual so far, but they will feed our democratic debate and chart the way forward.”
While the idea of European defense is not new, Michel said, events in Ukraine and the increasingly unstable security environment have given it "new urgency." “So we must confront today’s changing security paradigm. With war on our doorstep, our ambition must match the urgency,” he believes.
The President of the European Council pointed out the need to focus on two goals.
“First, our ironclad military support for the people of Ukraine, because Ukraine’s security is our security, the security of all of us. Second, we must make our European defence stronger. Now, tomorrow, and in the future,” Michel stated.
Noting the EU's "unprecedented military assistance" to Ukraine, he called "to do more." “More missiles, more ammunition, more air defence systems. And faster. This is an obligation: an obligation towards the Ukrainian people and towards our own citizens. By protecting Ukraine, we protect ourselves,” the head of the European Council stressed.
At the same time, Michel admitted that the supply of a million shells to Ukraine “will take slightly more time than we hoped,” but assured: “It will happen.”
The head of the European Council believes that “our continued strong military support also sends a signal” to EU partners, especially “American allies” that the European Union “takes its security more seriously than ever.”
In addition, Michel called for more effective coordination of European defense spending, a greater role for the EDA and increased funding for the defense industry.