World News

Brussels attacks should spur common EU defence strategy - Renzi

ROME (Reuters) - Deadly attacks in Brussels have underlined the need for the European Union to develop a common defence and security strategy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Tuesday.

Speaking after at least 30 people were killed in coordinated bombings in the Belgian capital, Renzi said Europe’s enemies were sometimes homegrown, often protected by a code of honour and silence within their own communities.

“We need therefore a security programme that knows no boundaries, without any let-up or rest. But we also need a cultural, political and social programme,” he said in a speech.

“The European Union needs to invest in a single defence and security structure. Europe has been discussing and arguing since 1954 about a common defence policy,” he said.

He offered no specifics, but said the continent’s secret services would achieve better results by working together.

Italy has in the past pushed for a more integrated European defence policy outside the context of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks on Brussels airport and at a metro station, a news agency affiliated with the group said.

Renzi said Europe would ultimately defeat its foes, but warned that it would take time.

“Those who today are promising miraculous solutions don’t realise how long this will go on for, and how difficult it will be. They don’t realise how superficial they are being. Those who today are shouting ‘let’s shut the borders’ don’t understand that our enemies are often inside our cities.”

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Heinrich