Europe must build its own Israel-style Iron Dome, says Donald Tusk

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system  intercepts rockets
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system was crucial in ensuring Iran's April attack on Israel caused no significant damage - Amir Cohen/REUTERS

Europe must create its own Israel-style Iron Dome to protect against missile and drone attack, the prime minister of Poland has said.

Donald Tusk said he and other leaders would propose plans for the £3.4 billion European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) to the European Council and Commission “in a few days”.

Creating an iron dome against missiles and drones is necessary,” he said on Monday.

“The recent attack on Israel showed how essential such systems are. There is no reason for Europe not to have its missile defence shield.”

The Iron Dome was crucial in ensuring Iran’s April attack on Israel, with about 300 missiles and drones, caused no significant damage.

Tories, including Penny Mordaunt, called for a British Iron Dome to be built after the attack but Number 10 rebuffed previous Ministry of Defence requests for funds.

Mr Tusk said Europe was in a danger zone, just like Israel. He said it did not take much imagination to work out where an attack could come from, in a veiled reference to Russia.

In November 2022, a missile struck a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border, killing two people.

Poland, which neighbours Russia, has ramped up its defence spending to more than four per cent of GDP since the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

On Saturday, Poland, which is an EU and Nato member state, said it would invest about €2 billion in ramping up security on its border with Russia and Belarus.

‘A dome to protect our sky’

Mr Tusk recently held talks in Warsaw with Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s prime minister, over the project led by Germany.

He said she “responded positively to my proposal for Poland to join a European project that will effectively build a dome to protect our sky”.

Berlin set up the ESSI initiative, with a total of 15 Nato countries, including the UK, in 2022. The plan, which involves joint procurement of air defence systems, now has 21 participating countries.

Poland is expected to join later this year but Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, could oppose membership.

Mr Duda is a member of the Law and Justice party, which was defeated by Mr Tusk at last year’s elections.

Law and Justice have a testy relationship with Berlin and Mr Duda has called the ESSI a “German business project”.