Europe Urged to Leverage Size and Capabilities to Address Challenges

Europe faces challenges like Ukraine war, medicine supply, and needs to leverage its capabilities to address them, but bureaucracy may hinder progress.

author-image
Hadeel Hashem
New Update
Europe Urged to Leverage Size and Capabilities to Address Challenges

Europe Urged to Leverage Size and Capabilities to Address Challenges

As Europe continues to face various challenges, from the war in Ukraine to the need for a resilient supply of critical medicines, an opinion piece in 2024 argues that the continent still fails to effectively utilize its size and capabilities to address these issues. The article suggests several ways for Europe to better employ its strengths and resources.

One key area where Europe has been slow to act is in increasing weapons and munitions production to support Ukraine and replenish NATO's military stocks. Despite the ongoing conflict, only 18 of NATO's 32 members are spending or have committed to spending the pledged 2% of GDP on defense, compared to 3-5% during the Cold War era. The article warns that without a genuine commitment to rearmament, European NATO allies will continue to hesitate, potentially setting the stage for NATO's failure.

Another challenge Europe faces is ensuring a resilient and diversified supply of plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs) for its citizens. The plasma-based biotech sector plays a critical role in providing access to vital medicines and technologies. The article outlines four key imperatives to strengthen the EU's open strategic autonomy in this area: increasing plasma supply, strengthening the manufacturing base, modernizing the supply chain, and supporting the broad availability of therapies through EU instruments and policies.

Why this matters: As Europe grapples with various geopolitical, economic, and public health challenges, it is essential for the continent to effectively leverage its size, capabilities, and resources to address these issues. Failure to do so could have far-reaching consequences for the stability and well-being of Europe and its citizens.

The article also discusses the European Union's progress in adopting the AI Act, the world's first comprehensive binding framework for trustworthy AI. The legislation, set to be formally approved in May and apply in 2026, will regulate foundation models and generative AI, as well as restrict governments' use of real-time biometric surveillance in public spaces. While the EU has set a benchmark for the rest of the world, the article notes that companies may face considerable bureaucracy as a result.

To address these challenges, the article emphasizes the need for EU and national decision-makers to work together with industry stakeholders. A thoughtful, tailored, and multipronged approach is required to strengthen Europe's capabilities and ensure its open strategic autonomy in various sectors. As the article states, "The downside for companies is considerable bureaucracy," highlighting the potential obstacles that must be overcome in the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Europe fails to utilize its size and capabilities to address challenges.
  • NATO members underspend on defense, risking NATO's failure in Ukraine.
  • Europe must strengthen its supply of plasma-derived medicines.
  • EU's AI Act will regulate AI, but companies may face bureaucracy.
  • Coordinated EU-national efforts and stakeholder engagement are needed.