Western allies should provide Ukraine with more weapons and improve its military capacities as they can expect a large-scale and intensive military conflict, said Senior Director of the Defence Policy and Strategy Section of the Czech Ministry of Defence Jan Jireš.
“The main goal (of both the EU and NATO) in the coming months and years should be to prepare for a large-scale, prolonged and extremely material-intensive military conflict,” said Jireš.
In recent years, Europe has invested little in defence, admitted Francisco Casalduero, the Defence Development Programme project manager at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS).
This applies to the overall volume of investments and the development of crucial new technologies. “This means a non-existent common defence,” Casalduero summarised, adding that this is why the European Commission is now making common European defence a priority.
However, representatives of the Czech defence industry are worried that the EU will just stick to words, not actions.
According to Kristýna Helm, deputy director of the Czech Association of Defence and Security Industry, the sector faces great demand and is “sold out for a decade ahead”. However, this demand mainly comes from third countries.
“For example, for Czech companies, the European market accounts for only 30% of customers. The rest goes abroad,” Helm said.
“So far, we have not been able to motivate the European defence industry to increase and speed up its production,” Jireš.
Jireš sees the main reason for the unwillingness of member states to provide the European defence industry with contracts that are essential to its proper functioning and economic sustainability.