France, Germany suggest joint EU air defense

(MENAFN) German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel macron are poised to unveil a collaborative plan aimed at bolstering Europe's air defense capabilities, according to sources cited by Bloomberg on Monday. The leaders are expected to discuss the initiative during Macron's three-day state visit to Germany, with discussions slated for Tuesday.

The proposed plan seeks to enhance Europe's air defense systems by introducing a new European air defense framework, which would complement the existing German-led European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI). Initially proposed by Chancellor Scholz in 2022, the ESSI aims to address concerns regarding Europe's ability to counter advanced threats such as the Russian 9K720 Iskander ballistic missile system.

While the ESSI currently incorporates missile defense technologies from various non-European sources, including Israeli and American systems, France has raised concerns about the reliance on non-European equipment. Paris has also expressed dissatisfaction over the exclusion of the French-Italian SAMP-T system from the ESSI.

In light of these considerations, the proposed joint initiative between Germany and France aims to establish a more comprehensive and self-reliant air defense system for Europe. Another potential option under consideration is joining a similar project recently proposed by Greece and Poland, which has garnered support from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Although specific details of the proposed joint air defense system are still being discussed, Bloomberg's sources underscore the importance of demonstrating Europe's commitment to defense ahead of the NATO summit scheduled to take place in Washington DC in July. The proposed initiative reflects efforts to strengthen European defense capabilities and foster greater unity among European Union member states in addressing emerging security challenges.



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