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Europe is facing threats from both within and from outside, according to EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. Speaking at a conference for Greece’s ruling conservative party New Democracy, von der Leyen emphasized the need for a common European defense in the current environment, stating that there is no return to innocence. She called for European defense spending to be accelerated collectively, highlighting the importance of defense cooperation in Europe’s future. The presence of the leadership of the European People’s Party (EPP) at the New Democracy conference in Athens was seen as significant, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis being praised as an example of successfully defeating populists.

EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas emphasized the importance of leaders like Mitsotakis and von der Leyen, rather than politicians seen as close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This highlights the concern over outside influences in Europe’s politics. Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides expressed gratitude towards Greece for its support, noting that without it, his country would not have been able to become an EU member. This demonstrates the importance of cooperation and unity within the EU to combat external threats and challenges.

The call for increased European defense spending and cooperation reflects the shifting dynamics and uncertainties in the region. Von der Leyen’s assertion that war is not a thing of the past in Europe underscores the need for vigilance and preparedness against potential threats. The presence of European leaders at the New Democracy conference in Athens signals a united front against populism and external influences, with a recognition of the importance of strong leadership to navigate these complex challenges. Greece’s role as a key player in the region, with support from other EU members, is crucial for maintaining stability and security in the face of increasing threats.

The focus on defense cooperation as the mark of the future in Europe highlights the evolving nature of security challenges in the region. By emphasizing the need for a common European defense, von der Leyen and other leaders are advocating for a more integrated and coordinated approach to security matters. This collaborative effort is seen as essential for effectively addressing the diverse range of threats facing Europe, both internal and external. The support from leaders like Mitsotakis and the EPP signals a commitment to solidarity and unity within the EU to confront these shared challenges collectively.

The statements from EU Commission officials and heads of state reflect a sense of urgency and determination to strengthen Europe’s defense capabilities. With ongoing threats and uncertainties in the region, there is a recognition of the need for proactive measures to safeguard the security and stability of Europe. The emphasis on European defense spending and cooperation as a key priority underscores the importance of preparedness and resilience in the face of potential threats. By coming together and reaffirming their commitment to a common European defense, leaders are signaling their readiness to confront challenges and protect the interests of the EU and its member states.

Overall, the discussions at the New Democracy conference in Athens highlight the challenges and opportunities facing Europe in the realm of security and defense. The calls for increased defense spending, cooperation, and unity demonstrate a collective resolve to address the evolving threats and uncertainties in the region. Through strong leadership, strategic partnerships, and a commitment to solidarity, Europe aims to strengthen its defenses and fortify its position against internal and external pressures. The focus on a common European defense as the way forward reflects a shared vision for a safer and more secure future for the EU and its citizens.

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