The EU should establish a new bespoke defence commissioner position in response to the war in Ukraine and Israel, the Netherlands' outgoing defence minister has said. (Photo by Andy Commins - Pool/Getty Images)


EU now needs a defence commissioner, says Dutch defence minister


The EU needs to establish a brand-new defence commissioner position to respond to wars in Ukraine and Israel, says the Netherlands’ outgoing defence minister.

EU military spending is “approached from a national interest perspective”, and attempts to increase its defence capabilities are “fragmented”, says Kajsa Ollongren of the Democrats 66 party.

It would be a good idea “for there to be a European commissioner who spends 100% of his or her time” on defence alone, the minister says.

The next European Commission should “put this very high on the agenda”, she adds.

Vladimir Putin faces much less resistance than EU leaders to increasing military spending, notes Ollongren.

Handing the EU more power is necessary to circumvent these hurdles against increasing military spending and weapons output, she says.

“Support for Ukraine is not decreasing for the time being,” and the EU needs the defence spending increase, she says.

However, some EU leaders are now looking for the Ukraine war to end, with both the EU and US applying pressure on Kyiv to start peace talks with Putin.

With the conflict seemingly entering a stalemate, western officials are now increasingly concerned they will be unable to keep supplying Ukraine with munitions and other supplies.

The Biden administration worries about Ukraine’s dwindling troop count, with Moscow having a much greater number of soldiers to throw at the conflict.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy denies he is under pressure to enter talks with Russia, insisting he sees no sense in trying to reach a peace deal.

“We have no right to give up. What’s the alternative? What, we need to give away a third of our state? This will only be the beginning,” he says.

Instead, he calls for greater military support to break the current deadlock, again appealing for advanced western fighter jets.

” We know what a frozen conflict is, we have already drawn conclusions for ourselves,” says Zelenskyy.

“We need to work more with air defence partners, unblock the sky, give our fighters the opportunity to carry out offensive actions,” he says.