Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani made statements. Speaking to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Tajani said that his Forza Italia party wants closer European Union (EU) cooperation in the field of defense. "If we want to be a peacekeeping force in the world, we need a European army. This is a fundamental prerequisite for having an effective European foreign policy."

Noting that there are powerful actors such as the US, China, India and Russia and that there are crises from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific region, Tajani said, "EU citizens can only be protected by something that already exists, namely the European Union."

Tajani also said that the 27-member EU should streamline its leadership structure and replace the current structure of the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission with a single presidency.

European defense cooperation has moved to the top of the political agenda following Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago. However, with EU member Finland joining the NATO alliance last year and Sweden on its way to membership, the focus has shifted more to NATO's enlargement efforts.