New pressure to boost defence is changing Europe

The war in Ukraine is forcing Europe to take swift action, prompting a radical rethinking of previous premises, especially in defence policy. What does this mean for the future of Europe?

Open/close all quotes
Kathimerini (GR) /

Europe finally growing up

Today's challenges are boosting Europe's self-confidence, Kathimerini writes:

“The US has cleverly managed to put the ball in the European leaders' court. The changes came swiftly and are tectonic. Germany has started to take its defence seriously. Finland is discussing Nato membership. Borrell looked like a priest taking up arms for the first time. Even Orbán has been forced to change his stance to a certain extent. Out of necessity, a new Europe has been born. First Trump, then the pandemic and now the Ukraine crisis have shown that it is time to grow up. ... Greece, too, will find its role and take its rightful place in the new Europe.”

Mérce (HU) /

The down-side of the necessary steps

Europe's rearmament will be a necessary evil from now on, writes political scientist Zoltán Gábor Szűcs in Mérce:

“Sometimes, even correct action results in tragic losses. A heavily armed Europe, a new military superpower will definitely entail such a loss. Firstly, because every single euro we spend on a European army means that one less euro goes to building a more peaceful world. Secondly, because every new tank, plane or missile for the European army will provoke further armament [in other countries].”

Público (PT) /

Mariupol will weigh on Europeans' conscience

Europe must watch helplessly as Ukraine suffers, writes Público:

“The barbarity of war, the violation of international law or of values as fundamental as the lives of innocent people continue to occur because Putin is indifferent to other people's opinions, human suffering, law and morality. And he knows that the protection of these very values in Europe reduces the risk of escalation. In the long run, the democracies will be proved right and Moscow's aggressive imperialism will be defeated. But when that day comes, what is happening now in Mariupol or Kharkiv will not stop weighing on the conscience of Europeans.”

Diena (LV) /

Renaming a street is not enough

Diena expects Latvian politicians to adopt a clear, non-populist stance:

“Instead of providing real military assistance to Ukraine, some politicians from the ruling parties are engaging in true populism. They call for the demolition of monuments [the monument to the Soviet army erected in 1985], risking fierce confrontations. They rename streets [the Russian embassy in Riga will now be located on the 'Street of Ukrainian Independence'], revoke and award citizenship and state honours. But the people are still waiting for the president to give a speech that is commensurate to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.”