NewsUrgent action needed as Europe faces harsh reality of war threat, Munich Security Conference reveals

Urgent action needed as Europe faces harsh reality of war threat, Munich Security Conference reveals

Putin may want to attack Europe.
Putin may want to attack Europe.
Images source: © Getty Images | Mikhail Svetlov

6:15 AM EST, February 19, 2024

"This year, Europe is speaking candidly about war. It's no longer a shunned subject, and everyone is openly admitting that if Ukraine falters, then Europe and NATO could be next."

In Munich, the consensus was clear: mere talks no longer suffice, we need to arm ourselves, kickstart ammunition and armament production. Europe urgently needs to bolster its defense, echoing the harsh reality of a looming war

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"No matter the outcome of the presidential elections in the US, Europe needs to prioritize enhanced defence competencies. Regardless of which occupant graces the White House, there are likely to be a proliferation of challenges and crises globally, demanding the USA's engagement in other parts of the world, which may limit resources that could have been directed to Europe. This understanding was blatant and resonated significantly during the conference,"In his opinion, the current discourse on European security can be labelled a 'nascence of a second awakening.'

The initial shock was caused by Russia's aggressive behaviour in Ukraine. Hopefully, this time the seriousness of the situation will not be underestimated - he underscored.

Another paramount element in the transatlantic discussion, Świerczyński notes, is the "re-entry of (Volodymyr) Zelensky into the scene". "The Ukrainian president, and by extension, the Ukrainian problem, suffered several adverse months after his disapproval with the West during the previous year's NATO summit in Vilnius. His criticism of Poland, among other occurrences during his address to the UN, meant he was not received warmly in Congress," the expert recalled.

His resurgence was marked by the signing of three bilateral security agreements—with the UK, Germany, and France—which resulted from the previous year's G7 agreements in Vilnius.

Standing ovation

"Zelensky was honoured with a standing ovation once more in Munich. It's noticeable that some are reflecting, sensing that their actions were too little and too late; that they failed to comprehend the imminent threat posed by Putin and his unwavering determination. However, there appears to be hope for a revived engagement," Świerczyński remarked.

Two years ago, faith in Ukraine was scant. Last year, belief returned and hopes were pinned on a Ukrainian counter-offensive. Today, once again, the specter of defeat looms large, along with consequential threats to Europe. Putin now commands an even larger troop presence than before the war, albeit possibly of diminished quality - the analyst observed.

"I harbor a sense that the assassination of opposition member Alexei Navalny will serve as further testament to all, that they're dealing with a pathological murderer who is not to be trusted in the first case, and secondly — one who only responds to shows of power," he added.

This year's conference marked the 60th edition of the Munich forum. As Świerczyński highlighted, it serves primarily as an open avenue for amicable transatlantic dialogue, facilitating conversation between America and its allies from Europe, as well as partners from other global regions.

"These conferences don't directly influence policy, but they indeed echo a certain atmosphere. And this year, that climate is grave, virtually permeated with a sense of dread, yet also a growing cognizance that action is obligatory," the Polityka Insight analyst concluded.

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