EU Proposes Ambitious Defence Boost as Ukraine War Drags on

Tue Mar 05 2024
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

BRUSSELS: European Union officials on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious proposal to massively boost weapons production and procurement in the bloc to shift from a reliance on US arms in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager said that the EU must take more responsibility for its own security, while, of course, remaining fully committed to the NATO alliance, according to AFP.

She said that they need to get that transatlantic balance right, irrespective of electoral dynamics in the United States. An improved ability to act will make the EU a stronger ally.

The commission’s European Defence Industrial Strategy aims, over the long term, to offer incentives to European arms developers to invest more, make their production more agile and — for the first time — collectively catalogue what they have available.

The question of financing the ambitious proposal, though, is problematic for a continent that has trimmed defence investment for decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Thierry Breton, the EU internal market commissioner, has spoken of an ultimate need for about one hundred billion euros (110 billion dollars) for the EU to rival the Pentagon and US defence industry.

Funding for Defence Plan

To initiate the project, the commission plans to allocate 1.5 billion euros from the European Union’s current budget that runs to 2027 — an amount Vestager stated “is not a lot of money” given the scale of the initiative.

She said that however, it can still work as a bonus, as an incentive, because the real funding for a stronger defence comes from member countries and that funding will increase over the years to come.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp