Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2024

‘We are on our own’: EU chief announces £86m defence fund plan as NATO chaos looms | World | News


In a bid to strengthen the European Union‘s defence capabilities, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton announced plans to establish a substantial €100 billion (£86m) EU defence fund.

The EU chief admitted the bloc is “on its own” when it comes to defence matters, especially looking ahead at a potential re-election of former US President Donald Trump, who threatened to abandon the NATO alliance.

Breton’s announcement comes ahead of the presentation of the European Defence Investment Program (EDIP) on February 27, which aims to bolster joint weapons procurement and prepare the EU for potential security challenges.

Addressing a gathering at the European Parliament on Tuesday, Breton stressed the need for a significant defence fund.

He said: “I believe we have to have a huge defence fund to help to accelerate, even probably in the amount of €100 billion.”

Breton shared a pivotal moment from 2020 during an anecdote, recalling a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, Phil Hogan, and the then-President of the United States, Donald Trump, at Davos.

He said: “And Donald Trump said to Ursula, ‘you need to understand that if Europe is under attack, we will never come to help you and to support you, and by the way NATO is dead, and we will leave, we will quit NATO.’ It was the president of the United States of America — he may come back.”

Reflecting on Trump’s warning, Breton highlighted the significance of the statement as a wake-up call for the EU.

“That was a big wake-up call … So now more than ever, we know that we are on our own, of course,” he added, stressing the need for the EU to be self-reliant in matters of defence and security.

The proposed €100 billion defence fund aligns with the EU’s efforts to foster a united and robust defence strategy, ensuring that member states are adequately equipped to respond to evolving geopolitical challenges.

As Breton prepares to unveil the EDIP later this month, the EU’s commitment to fortifying its defence capabilities remains a key focus amid global uncertainties.



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