EU countries speed up plan to mobilize ammunition stocks for Ukraine and make joint purchases

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said that to achieve peace, “Ukraine needs to win the war” (REUTERS/Yves Herman) (Yves Herman/)

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrellreceived this Wednesday support from the Twenty-seven for his proposal of 1,000 million euros to transfer existing ammunition “stocks” in the Member States and, in parallel, specify a joint purchase plan, with another 1,000 million, to replenish the reserves of the European Armies and guarantee the stable supply of weapons to Ukraine.

“To win peace, Ukraine needs to win the war,” said the High Representative at a press conference from Stockholm after the meeting of European Defense Ministers that culminated in a “general agreement” to move forward with the plan presented by European diplomacy .

As indicated, the idea is that the European bloc sends “in a matter of weeks” to Ukraine existing artillery ammunition in its own arsenals worth 1,000 million, whose replacement will be financed through the European Mechanism for Peace.

Artillery ready to be sent to Ukraine (Reuters)
Artillery ready to be sent to Ukraine (Reuters) (BRENDAN MCDERMID /)

Despite the fact that many elements remain to be defined, the head of European diplomacy stated that “all” Member States agree on the ultimate goal of stepping up military support for Ukraine and maintained that the formal agreement could be ready for March 20 at the meeting of foreign ministers, prior to the summit of EU leaders on March 23 and 24, which would give the green light to the project to transfer ammunition and work on joint purchasing plan.

In this sense, Borrell plans to invest half of the new funds committed in December within the framework of the European Peace Mechanism in sending shells from the EU’s own reserves, while the other half, the other 1,000 million remaining, They will be used in the joint ammunition purchase program with which the EU hopes to reduce the deadlines and costs to receive new material both to fill its arsenals and to supply Kiev.

EU member states will send their stocks of artillery ammunition to Ukraine (US Army photo/2nd Lt. Gabriel Jenko/Handout via REUTERS)
EU member states will send their stocks of artillery ammunition to Ukraine (US Army photo/2nd Lt. Gabriel Jenko/Handout via REUTERS) (US ARMY/)

If it finally follows this plan, the European Union will once again use all the funds available in the instrument with which it has financed up to now. the shipment of 3,600 million euros in weapons to Ukraine since the start of the war.

The other leg of Borrell’s plan is to work in parallel on a joint purchase program valued at 1,000 million to acquire up to seven different categories of ammunition, depending on the caliber. The High Representative has insisted on giving a central role to the European Defense Agency (EDA), stressing that the organization has the necessary experts and projects so that it can carry out a “fast procedure” .

Faced with the doubts of some Member States, who criticize the slowness and bureaucracy of processing the purchase through the EDA, Borrell called for the agency to provide a pan-European response to Ukraine’s needs, although he acknowledged that it will take time.

As he pointed out, first the Member States that want to participate must agree on the terms of the procedure, then contracts will be opened with the 15 European companies that manufacture this ammunition and prices and deadlines will be set. “It will not be short, but the sooner we start the better and I don’t know of a process that goes faster,” he said.

In any case, Borrell admitted that these joint purchases are not the only procedure to equip the Ukrainian Army and has not excluded other modalities between EU countries, since the option of creating coalitions of countries that redirect contracts already signed with the arms industry.

Ukrainian troops continue to resist the Russian advance in the east of the country (REUTERS / Stringer)
Ukrainian troops continue to resist the Russian advance in the east of the country (REUTERS / Stringer) (STRINGER /)

“I do not exclude that the Member States want to follow other procedures. But if we want to go all together with a big package that includes not only the needs of the Member States, but of Ukraine, I am convinced that it is the best way, ”he explained.

And regarding the doubts regarding whether the Twenty-seven should acquire material from the military industry from outside the Union, the person in charge of Foreign Affairs commented that the EU “prefers” to go to the European military industry, although it recognized the shortcomings of the sector. “We need the capacity to produce on our own, but we don’t have enough because we are used to living in peace and war is something that did not enter our imagination,” he reflected.

In this sense, he expressed the need to develop the arms industry in Europe. “We will ask our companies to produce more and they will produce more if we give them a clear horizon,” remarked the former Spanish minister, calling for investment to increase production capacity and reduce production times. “We are in wartime and we need to have a war mentality,” he summed up.

(With information from Europa Press)

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