27 May, 2023

Strengthening Europe’s security in wartime: liberals discuss

A high-level panel debate held during the ALDE Party Congress in Stockholm focused on Europe’s defence and security concerns, which are increasingly important priorities for Europeans, as evidenced by research conducted by the ALDE Party. The panellists discussed how to provide further support to Ukraine and what the future of European security and defence will entail, among other topics. 

Olga Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine opened the debate, discussing the lessons learned from the Ukraine war: "We managed to learn the new lessons of how to stay more resilient, how to stay more confident, how to realise the very fact that our values are something we need to fight for. Not only to cherish, not only to respect but also to fight for."

"We need to think strategically and ahead. We need to build a secure Europe, we need to make sure that the security guarantees are not provided only for Ukraine but for all of us through strengthening the defence capacity, through coordination of defence industry, through making us more capable in the security dimension but of course through finally taking political decisions on bringing Ukraine into a family of European and Euro-Atlantic defence architecture," she said.

Kajsa Ollongren, Minister of Defence (D66, the Netherlands) noted that supporting Ukraine means supporting European values. 

"This momentum is important. It is important for Europe because we haven't talked for a long time about European defence and about our own security and our own safety. And for a long time we relied on the United States and NATO for that," she said.

"But Europe has to do more, we have to care about our security. And if we care about our security, we have to increase our defence budgets and intensify our cooperation on defence," she continued.

"It's time to stand up and wake up," Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, member of Bundestag and Chair of the Defence Committee (FDP, Germany), said talking of what Europe needs to do in terms of security.

"It's very important to show Russia and China that Europe is able to be resilient and to be ready to fight for our values - and not only in words," she continued.

"Building more independence from Russian natural resources is something that will strengthen us as Europeans. [...] But it's not only Russia who we need to think about when it comes to strengthening European security. It's also China and our technological dependence on China," said Aušrinė Armonaitė, Minister for Economy and Innovation (Freedom Party, Lithuania).

"We have to think not only about how to fight Putin but also about the reconstruction of Ukraine. And it has to be done now," she underlined.

The panel was moderated by Dániel Berg, ALDE Party Vice-President. 

In case you missed the debate, you can rewatch it on our Youtube channel.  

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