More money for the military: timely or misguided?
France’s military budget will rise by 40 percent, Denmark increased its defence budget this week, and the EU Parliament plans to invest 500 million euros to boost munitions production. Back in March 2022 Germany announced an additional 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Europe’s press takes stock of the rearmament trend.
Poland is missing an opportunity
Rzeczpospolita laments that Poland is not teaming up with France and Germany on this initiative:
“It’s hard to imagine better news than the EU’s two most important countries’ announcement of a new foreign policy. ... However, there is one major absentee in this process: Poland. This should be the moment when our country enters the small circle of the key countries in the community. Poland has taken on a unique importance, not only because Macron and Steinmeier acknowledge that our years of warnings about Russia were justified. Our location between Ukraine and Western Europe and our military and economic potential also weigh in the balance. ... Unfortunately, the Polish government has chosen a different path: the gradual escalation of the conflict with Germany and the rest of the EU in order to mobilise the PiS electorate.”
Climate policy is also security policy
The defence plans should serve as an example for other areas of society, says Politiken:
“The defence plans are an inevitable response to the war in Europe. The government can only be commended for its resolute approach to strengthening defence. But Mette Frederiksen does not have such a firm hand when it comes to the biggest crisis of all: the climate. Why isn’t the government setting aside comparable sums up to 2030 to advance the fight against climate change? After all, the economic conditions are there. ... The government is forgetting that climate policy is also security policy.”
Increased budget reflects realities and values
France’s additional investments are entirely justified, a group of members of the National Assembly from the Renaissance camp argue in Le Monde:
“The 2024-2030 Military Program Law — or defence bill — is an apt response to the strategic challenges France faces. As an ambitious effort, it prepares the ground for more reactive and cohesive, but also more influential armies within our alliances. The broad outlines of this bill are in line with our strategic heritage and the promises of a Republic whose power has always been at the service of peace and universalism based on international law. We will vote for this defence bill. For the success of France’s armies as a deterrent against attacks of all kinds and to safeguard peace.”
Bellicose approach is destructive
The left-wing daily Il Manifesto is disgusted:
“Yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament on the Asap (Act to Support Ammunition Production) means that national governments will be allowed to use funds from the Covid recovery fund, which is part of the Next Generation EU recovery plan, for rearmament. ... A disastrous decision, but only to be expected since none of the European governments are addressing the problem of how to stop the catastrophe of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Apparently the only perspective, as the summit in Moldova also shows, is Ukraine’s accession to Nato. As if this won’t exacerbate the Ukraine crisis: the response to Putin’s criminal war is an Atlantic war.”