No alternative to rearmament?

Russia's war against Ukraine has prompted Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and other countries to announce increases in their military budgets. Berlin alone plans to spend an additional 100 billion euros this year. But defence requires more than just money, Europe's press observes.

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Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Efficiency instead of new weapons

Increasing the military capacities of individual EU states is not the way to achieve the bloc's goals, says former Nato Secretary General Javier Solana in Diário de Notícias:

“While Europe clearly needs to invest in its military capabilities, this means not only spending more money but making these efforts as Europeans and not as individual states. According to the European Defence Agency, EU member states spend around 200 billion euros a year on defence - more than India, Russia and the UK combined. The task now is to improve efficiency rather than simply increase military spending at the national level.”

La Tribune (FR) /

Berlin working against Paris

The arms purchases planned by Berlin will hinder cooperation with French systems, defence experts of the Vauban Group point out in La Tribune:

“In this way, Germany will continue rearming in line with the doctrine: American to buy its security and German to promote its arms industry and better negotiate profitable industrial cooperation. Yes, cooperation programmes may be partly carried out with France, but in many areas we have been neglected. ... Far from reviving Franco-German cooperation, the special fund could in fact bury it.”

Kurier (AT) /

Don't just rely on the neighbours

Neutral states like Austria in particular must have a well-equipped military, Kurier writes, arguing for more commitment from Vienna:

“Austria has made itself exceedingly comfortable in its neutrality over the past decades. ... The country has practically destroyed its army with cuts and indulged in absurd discussions. ... In the past, when it was a question of replacing dilapidated aircraft, there were discussions in certain places about whether neighbouring states could 'co-secure' the airspace so that neutral Austria could save itself the cost of fighter jets. That was stupid. Above all, however, it testified to a lacking sense of solidarity.”

Verslo žinios (LT) /

More support for arms companies

The state needs to provide more support to the defence industry in Lithuania, business paper Verslo žinios urges:

“Lithuania's war industry wants to rev up, but there are three factors stopping growth: the lack of a state strategy and support, superfluous rules for companies, and public procurement. ... Now that we are preparing ourselves for danger, it is very important to have local companies that could continue to work and contribute to the defence of the country in a war situation and in isolation. ... Producers are ready to do more for national defence and for our and Ukrainian soldiers. Therefore, the appeal of the business community to the defence institutions and the proposal for better cooperation is a logical step.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Weapons and education must go hand in hand

Pope Francis has called the arms build-up a disgrace. Unfortunately, however, weapons are necessary, theologian Vito Mancuso counters in La Stampa:

“How can one not agree with the pope when he says that the real answer is not more weapons, more sanctions, or more political and military alliances, but a different way of governing today's globalised world? ... In the meantime, however, Western governments would do well to take note of the reality. ... But with one crucial caveat: given that modern weapons can destroy us all countless times over, avoiding self-destruction requires that governments invest even more in the education of our conscience than they do in weapons.”

Expressen (SE) /

Democracy requires deterrence

Germany should acquire nuclear weapons, journalist Ola Wong demands in Expressen:

“Any clear-thinking person wants a world free of nuclear weapons. But hopes do not help in a world where despots wield power to achieve their goals. Democracy needs deterrence. ... If we have learned one thing in recent weeks, it is that the politically unthinkable can become possible overnight. ... Personally, I would like to see the only major country that has taken a serious look at its history assume responsibility for protecting us.”

T24 (TR) /

Iron Curtain 2.0

A new Iron Curtain could be lowering over Europe, T24 fears:

“The curtain that was drawn from north to south, from sea to sea, after the Second World War is not lowering this time from Szczecin on the Baltic coast to Trieste on the Adriatic. This time the borders seem to have been moved further east. ... Of course, there is a parallel Nato line further west. Between the two there could be a buffer zone, that is, a semi-demilitarised intermediate zone. ... One hopes that the war in Ukraine does not lead to such a confrontation and such a curtain. Nevertheless the direction taken indicates that such a curtain will fall.”