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Procaccini: For a common European defence

In the debate on European security and defence, ECR Co-Chairman Nicola Procaccini spoke in favour of the creation of a European army to complement NATO.

However, he began by criticising the late timing of the debate after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Commission’s tendency to get bogged down in trivialities. “For the last five years, the EU has been talking in this House about butterflies and electric scooters rather than European security and defence. In contrast, we in the ECR Group have always believed that the EU shouldn’t try to do everything, but should try to do a few very important things,” said Procaccini. Referring to the Italian position and the possible election of Donald Trump as US president, Procaccini said the effort needed to create a European army was more than justified.

The European Union’s ASPIDES naval force in the Red Sea, which protects international shipping from attacks by Houthi Rebels, is another step towards increased defence cooperation. “The common defence of our borders and of European interests is one of the few things that Europe can do, that Europe can do very well, and defence is a question of numbers,” Procaccini said.

The speech reads in full:


“President von der Leyen, we are now at the end of the parliamentary term, it is rather late for this debate. For five years we have been talking in this House about butterflies and electric scooters instead of European security and defence. The herbivorous superpower for Europe is what some seem to want, and that has affected the business of the European Commission and therefore of the European Parliament. We’ve heard wonderful speeches about the need to cycle in order not to emit CO2. We’ve talked about dreams, but in the meantime Europe has continued to live in reality, and reality is a beautiful but dangerous place. We’ve always been clear in my group, we’ve always been clear that the EU shouldn’t try to do everything, but should try to do a few very important things. Our message has always been: do less, but do it better. The common defence of our borders and of European interests is one of the few things that Europe can do, that Europe can do very well, and defence is a question of numbers. If you look across the Atlantic, you don’t always find the same interest. If you look at NATO, the Atlantic alliance, you don’t always find the same interest, so don’t be surprised if Trump mocks the EU’s green dream, it’s not always up to others to make sacrifices for us. If you look at a European army, the Italian right has supported this idea for 50 years, when it was a red line for others in this House. If you compare it with national armies, yes, it is expensive, but it is worth it. If we can spend less overall, do more and do it better, that will be proof of what you can do with good centrist realism. Look at ASPIDES: These are difficult times and this is the way to go, but there have always been difficult times. The Roman slave who was freed wrote: “It is not easy to defend oneself alone, we must defend freedom together”.

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