The Mission: A European defence shield


Christos Katsioulis

+43 (0) 1 890 3811 201


What is the challenge?

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed the EU’s vulnerability in the face of aggressive military force.
  • The EU public does not feel equally threatened by aggressors such as Russia, and so is not equally convinced of the need for greater defence spending and preparedness.
  • The EU military and arms policy structures are fragmented, with little broad strategic oversight, so the response to such crises is often slow and disjointed.
  • Member states’ weapons systems and training methods differ from one another, and from other NATO forces, which also leads to a disjointed military response to any threat.

    What is the solution?

    This mission is meant to build on capabilities that are already present by:

    1. Encouraging greater interoperability between national armed forces in the EU and NATO through common standards of training and weapons systems. Joint procurement would allow the EU and member states the benefit of the economies of scale.
    2. Emphasising integration and solidarity among all EU member states when discussing the need for increased readiness against external security threats.
    3. Streamlining the EU decision-making processes — e.g., introducing qualified majority voting on certain defence issues — to speed up responses to future crises.
    4. Consolidating the European defence market and investing in defence research, technology and innovation with an emphasis on key strategic capabilities such as cyber defence, and new technologies like AI. This would create a significant number of jobs.
    5. Developing — from existing national forces — a European army for deployment in crises both within the EU and beyond its borders.

    How would this mission benefit Europeans?

    • A common defence shield would send a clear signal of military deterrence to potential aggressors while providing increased security for European citizens.
    • It would also strengthen social solidarity and fairness at home. Furthermore, it would ease pressure on social budgets by pooling defence resources.
    • An EU pillar within NATO would immunise the EU and NATO against future political shocks in Washington, leading to a more autonomous EU capable of acting independently against threats in its own neighbourhood and keeping its citizens secure.

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