Speaking at the European Defense and Security Conference in Brussels, Breton stressed the need for Europe to strengthen its defense capabilities, especially in light of rising geopolitical tensions and conflicts such as Russia’s war in Ukraine. He indicated that this has already partially begun with the support of the production of ammunition and rockets.
However, Breton said there should also be a focus on priority initiatives such as the joint purchase and use of naval assets and next-generation missile shields.
According to reports, he hinted at the need to focus on EU financing, construction and operation of an aircraft carrier.
Breton highlighted the urgency of developing a European defense industrial strategy, which will be presented on November 8, and the consolidation of existing short-term financing instruments, including the €300 million EDIRPA common procurement fund and the €500 million ASAP ammunition and missile fund. These funds were created in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Breton supported merging them with the 8 billion euro European Defense Fund and called for its strengthening after the formation of the next European Commission. He stressed the need to avoid a “defense industry shutdown” in 2025, when current funding programs expire.
Cover image: Photographed from the cockpit of a Super-Etendard on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle on November 4, 2000. Photo credit: Francis Demange/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images