Real progress on European defence

Real progress on European defence

Over the last few days our work has been particularly intense, with important and concrete results on European defence. We have taken practical steps forward, which only one year ago would have seemed impossible to achieve. Last Thursday, in Brussels, we set up the first single command centre for European military training and advisory missions. When we began to talk about it, a few months ago, I was told it would have taken us years before we could establish it. We have made it in just a few weeks. Here is the official press release. The same day I travelled to Zaragoza, in Spain, to inaugurate the first European military airlift training centre. Until a few years ago, aircrews from European countries had to be trained in the United States. Today they finally get the training they need here in Europe, in a common structure for all Member States – which is already generating some interest outside the European Union. Here is my speech in Zaragoza. The day before, on Wednesday, I was in Brussels to officially launch the European Defence Fund, which will finance common projects for military research and our defence industry (here is the press conference with Jyrki Katainen). All these are real steps towards a European Union of security and defence: this is the best response to the European citizens’ and our partners’ need for security, but also to those who accuse our Union to be too slow and bureaucratic. Things can change, when there is the political will to make them change for the better. I talked about this at the Prague Security Conference on Friday (here is my speech),...