Europe is being targeted both from within and from outside, Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday.

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Speaking at the conference of Greece’s ruling conservative party New Democracy, the EU Commission president, who is running for re-election this June, said that in the current environment there is no return to innocence and made the case for a common European defence.

“We need to speed up European defence spending collectively. But just as war is not a thing of the past in Europe, defence cooperation must be the mark of the future in Europe”.

The leadership of EPP being at the New Democracy conference in Athens was anything but circumstantial. Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is being praised as one of the most successful EPP leaders and as an example of how populists can be defeated.

EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said that Europe needs “Kyriakos and Ursula and not Putin’s friends”, whereas Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides thanked Greece, as without its support his country would not have been an EU member.

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