EU ‘finally becoming aware’ of security challenges around it, says foreign policy chief

The European Union is “finally becoming aware” of the security challenges around it, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said in a statement Monday.

Josep Borrell recalled that conflicts and instabilities are ongoing in several regions including Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa.

“We are finally becoming aware of the many security challenges in our dangerous environment,” he said, adding that the European Peace Facility, which is an “extra-budgetary EU fund” established in 2021, helps the block support its partners with “military equipment, which was not possible via the EU budget.”

Borrell said the EU is actively supporting countries in Africa, as well as in the Western Balkans, and Georgia.

“At home, we need also to invest much more and help our defence industry to increase its production capacities,” he explained as the only “solution” for supporting Ukraine and replenishing European stocks.

Borrell stressed that the EU must “incentivise much more joint procurement, better secure our security of supplies, anchor the Ukrainian defense industry in Europe and organize a massive industrial ramp-up.”

The bloc also needs to “catch up on new military technologies like drones or Artificial Intelligence,” the foreign policy chief noted, and regretted that EU’s defense budget in 2023 was €290 billion ($313.6 billion), which represents 1.7% of its GDP, lower than the 2% NATO threshold.

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