Armin Papperger, the head of Germany's largest defence company, Rheinmetall, has indicated that Europe requires a decade to fully bolster its defence capabilities.

During a recent event attended by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Papperger emphasized the current depletion of ammunition stocks in Europe.

Speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony for a new arms manufacturing plant in Lower Saxony, Papperger highlighted the need for substantial preparation against potential aggressors targeting NATO.

Rheinmetall's investment of over $300 million in the new facility underscores the urgency to enhance Europe's defence readiness. The plant is projected to produce 200,000 artillery shells annually.

Papperger stressed the imperative to replenish Europe's ammunition stocks, noting that significant quantities have been redirected to support Ukraine amid ongoing conflict.

While acknowledging the necessity of aiding Ukraine during wartime, Papperger emphasized the critical need to prioritize Europe's defence capabilities. He underscored that a minimum of five to ten years is required to sufficiently replenish ammunition stocks to ensure preparedness.

Chancellor Scholz refrained from commenting directly on recent statements by US presidential hopeful Donald Trump. However, he reaffirmed the importance of NATO for the collective security of member states.

Similarly, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen emphasized Europe's obligation to enhance its readiness, particularly in light of escalating tensions with Russia.

Despite recent efforts to bolster defence spending in response to geopolitical challenges, experts caution that Europe remains heavily reliant on US support for its defence capabilities.

While progress has been made since Chancellor Scholz's declaration of a "turning point" in Germany's foreign and defence policy, significant gaps persist in Europe's capacity to confront diverse security threats.

The remarks by Papperger and other leaders underscore the ongoing imperative for Europe to enhance its defence capabilities independently, regardless of potential shifts in US policy. Photo by Jörg Wiegels, Wikimedia commons.