Europe needs a strong army, PM tells German daily

The EU should double its defence spending in order to build a very strong army that would be integrated with Nato, Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, has told the Berliner Morgenpost daily.

In an interview published on Sunday by the media group Funke, owner of Berliner Morgenpost, and in the Quest France newspaper, Morawiecki said the EU should increase its total defence spending from the current EUR 300 billion to EUR 500 billion-600 billion.

"It is not impossible," he said, adding that the spending should not be counted towards the Maastricht Treaty's 3-percent budget deficit cap.

"Of course, this would be the most appropriate solution," he argued, saying that the EU army would be based on Nato infrastructure and national armies.

"Only this can make the EU a 'global player'," Morawiecki said. "Only this will make us all safe."

Morawiecki added that Poland would aim at defence spending at three to four percent of GDP, a significant rise from the current two percent.

"This may violate the debt principles," he said. "But we can't be punished for defending Germany, Austria and other countries against the aggressive policy of Russia, which wants to attack the EU and Nato's eastern flank."

"It is extremely important to strengthen the military aspect of our security when we see the reality of this shocking assault," Morawiecki added.

Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia support Poland's view, according to the prime minister.

"We would like to see 20,000 to 30,000 more Nato troops in Poland alone, on top of the 6,000 soldiers that are already here" he said. "However, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also need support," he continued. "There is a real danger on Nato's eastern flank."

"Finland is not a Nato member and also feels that it is under serious threat," he added.

"We're defending democracy, rule of law and territorial integrity in Europe," Morawiecki concluded.

Russia attacked Ukraine from three directions on Thursday but the Kremlin's plans of a fast-tracked conquest and replacement of the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime loyal to Moscow has failed so far as Russian forces met with fierce Ukrainian resistance.