In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has been battling a series of challenges, including the pressing need to fortify its defence capabilities. This realisation has led to significant developments in the EU’s defence policy landscape, including adopting the European Defence Industry Reinforcement through the Common Procurement Act (EDIRPA) in October 2023. This Act’s adoption symbolises Europe’s determined response to the evolving security dynamics on the continent and the world stage.
The Ukraine war has had a myriad of geopolitics outputs in Europe, from grain commerce, energy supply, and to defence architecture of the continent. For the latter concept, it is well known that the United States plays a significant role in the deterrence equation through NATO (NATO, 2022). Nevertheless, the situation before Russian aggression is likely to change, and the burden of forward posture efforts from the different allies will be realigned.
Today, Niger hosts Niger Air Base 201—the US’s largest drone base (Jones, 2023), located in the city of Agadez—which is used to monitor extremist groups (Gordon, 2023), and to which, “as a precautionary measure” (Mitchell, 2023) after 26 July, the US repositioned a portion of its personnel. Following the coup, which the US only acknowledged as such on 10 October (Miller, 2023), monitoring drone flights were suspended; as of mid-September, they have slowly and discreetly resumed (Gordon, 2023).
The commitment of Prime Minister Meloni to military spending became tangible after the Defence Ministry released, with an unusual delay of six months, its budget projections for 2023-2025. Integrated expenditures for defence are set to reach an all-time high of €31.4 billion in 2025, a €2 billion increase from 2022. Italian expenses for procurement are expected to rise by 43% in the next two years, with €4.6 billion allocated to thirteen new military programmes.
Some of the most consequential NATO member states (MSs) which have played a major role in providing financial, military, and humanitarian aid to Kyiv since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, are now reassessing their position in this conflict. Having been the leading forces in sustaining the Ukrainian military effort against the Russian military, they are now displaying a decreasing tendency to continue on the path followed until now.