Mitsotakis: European defence industry needs to be streamlined

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaking earlier on Friday at the opening Townhall debate “Currency for Change: World Politicis on a Budget” at the 60th Munich Security Conference, proposed establishing a policy that leads to growth. He said this would be the most appropriate so that European states can continue to afford to finance their defence while also achieving their fiscal goals.

“Greece has always spent a lot of money on its defence, as it is constantly faced with significant geopolitical challenges, which other member states of the Union do not face. We must continue to do this, but at the same time be smarter in our approach,” Mitsotakis noted. He emphasised that “this will be another challenge, as our budgets are under pressure, due to the technological and energy transition as our economies emerge from the pandemic.”

The prime minister underlined that “we will have to streamline the European defence industry and make strategic decisions on where to direct our resources, as there cannot be six or seven different suppliers of weapons systems in Europe.”

Mitsotakis said it was necessary to ensure that Europe’s defence industry adapts to the new geopolitical challenges, and to the new way in which military confrontations are now being conducted around the world.

The Greek prime minister also referred to the European Union’s recent decision to treat defence spending differently when calculating the debt of each EU member-state, while he stressed that the landmark decision to create the Recovery Fund should be a guide in the effort to find more resources for defence.

At the start of the debate, Economist editor-in-chief and panel moderator Zanny Beddoes congratulated the the Greek prime minister on passing a bill for civil marriage equality for same-sex couples, while Mitsotakis was applauded by those present. He declared himself proud to be the leader of a centre-right party, which managed to pass the specific bill.

When asked whether world leaders are really working to consolidate peace, the Greek prime minister explained that Greece has an aggressive neighbour on its eastern border but has always been the one to steadfastly support reconciliation and is now trying to establish a more permanent easing of tensions with Turkiye.