European Commission president backs Polish, Greek calls for EU air defense shield

    WORLD  25 May 2024 - 03:05

    Politico carries an article about the European Commission president who has backed a demand from Polish and Greek prime ministers to create an EU-funded air defense shield, Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has backed a demand from Polish and Greek Prime Ministers Donald Tusk and Kyriakos Mitsotakis to create an EU-funded air defense shield.

    "The current fragmented landscape is simply not up to today's needs and requirements," Tusk and Mitsotakis argued in a letter addressed to the Commission chief dated on May 23, obtained by POLITICO and first reported by Bloomberg.

    "Europe will be safe as long as the skies over it are safe," the letter read, laying out the need for a European air defense system to protect the common airspace against threats such as aircraft, missiles and drones.

    At a debate between candidates for the next Commission presidency on May 23, von der Leyen voiced support for the leaders' statement: “We have to have a common air defense shield for all of Europe, like it was proposed by Mitsotakis and Tusk," she said.

    With the two-week countdown to the EU election on, von der Leyen, a member of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is running for a second term as head of the EU executive.

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred the EU to enhance joint defense efforts and supply more military aid, including air defenses, to Ukraine. Developing a unified "flagship" European defense project would clearly signal Europe's unity and resolve in self-defense, according to the leaders.

    Currently, Germany leads the European Sky Shield Initiative, which aims to jointly procure German, US and Israeli air defense systems. France and Italy, which develop their own air defense system called SAMP/T, are looking to rival that effort.

    European leaders have called for joint defense efforts to be discussed at the next EU summit at the end of June.

    A leak of the draft Strategic Agenda, seen by POLITICO and also expected to be discussed in June, lists "an EU air defense shield" as a potential future European flagship project in the area of defense.

    Caliber.Az

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