During the 26th annual Summit of Chairmen of EPP Parliamentary Groups, the future of defence took centre stage in the debate between European and national Members of Parliament from the EPP family.

Esther de Lange, Vice-Chair of the EPP Group and responsible for relations with National Parliaments, said: “It’s quite clear that Europe needs better organisation and more ambition on defence issues to be able to solve the problems on our own doorstep. This is not to cut defence spending in Member States, but to work together and make everyone stronger.”

Citizens want Europe to deliver on security and defence

Bearing in mind that opinion polls tell us that citizens want Europe to deliver first and foremost on security and defence, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen provided valuable insights into the big steps that have been taken: “We are developing more transparency and cooperation in the European Defence Union. This does not mean a European army, but an army of Europeans, in which decisions to send troops will remain in the hands of Member States.”

Europe needs better organisation and more ambition on defence issues to able to solve the problems on our own doorstep Esther de Lange

The Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, emphasised the link between the internal market and Europe’s defence ambitions: “Europe’s ambitions in terms of defence are extremely connected to the internal market and our companies. Member States will define priorities, propose and select projects and most importantly develop projects that can be financed by the EU in the future.”

We need to start spending smarter when it comes to our defence investments and better support Europe’s industrial competitiveness Françoise Grossetête

EPP Group Vice-Chair Françoise Grossetête, Rapporteur on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), said: “We need to start spending smarter when it comes to our defence investments, better support Europe’s industrial competitiveness and make sure all countries can participate in the future funding of common projects from Member States.”

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