Belgium’s De Croo: Europe needs to boost its defense industry

Europe should build a stronger arms industry to soak up fresh national investment in tanks, planes and missiles following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Monday.

During a speech in Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt on how Europe should refocus because of the war, De Croo said securing energy independence and reconsidering its approach to enlargement were critical but that EU countries also need to make sure they don’t funnel billions into new military investment abroad.

“We must build a stronger European defense industry, able to compete with other global players,” De Croo said. “If we increase our defense budgets and investments in military technology, let it be European technology. Developed in Europe, built in Europe. With European return on investment.”

Doing so would make Europe a “solid military bloc” and a strong part of NATO alongside the United States, he said. “We cannot make ourselves dependent on who would be the next occupant of the White House.”